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					REVIEW AND EVALUATION OF OMSAR
  MANDATES AND ACHIEVEMENTS

          FINAL REPORT
           October 2009




   Kevin Brown (Principal Author)
                &
        Dr. Adnan Iskandar
                                OMSAR REVIEW
                                  CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                      1

I     INTRODUCTION                                     7
           The Assignment                              7
           Acknowledgements                            7
           Administrative Reform in Lebanon            8
           Evolution of OMSAR                          9

II    REVIEW OF PERFORMANCE                            10
           Alignment with National Priorities          11
           Modern Management Capacities                12
           Size and Cost of Public Administration      16
           Modernisation of Legislation                17
           Citizen-oriented Administration             19
           Information and Communications Technology   21
           EU projects                                 24
           External Factors                            25
           Conclusions                                 27

III   ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT                      31
           Role and Functions                          31
           Organization Structure                      33
           Staff Capacity and Utilisation              35
           Management Processes                        36

IV    OPTIONS FOR CHANGE                               39
           Reform Options for OMSAR                    39
           Empowering OMSAR                            42
           Organization and Management                 47
           Staffing of OMSAR                           48

ANNEX

List of Persons Met




                                                            ii
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.       This assignment had three main objectives, namely to:-

        Assess the performance and achievements of OMSAR against its stated objectives;
        Identify and recommend areas for future interventions with a view to increasing the
         efficiency and impact of OMSAR’s activities;
        Develop and outline the future strategic direction for OMSAR to play the role of the
         central administrative reform and coordinating body.

Review of Performance

2.      The review takes the four objectives and broad interventions set out in the 2002
UNDP project document as a reference point. However, it has proved difficult to provide a
comprehensive or balanced assessment of OMSAR’s performance in the time available for
three main reasons. First, clear reform priorities were never fully articulated or embraced by
government; second, OMSAR’s plans have tended to evolve over time in response to new
opportunities; and thirdly, documented information is only maintained on accomplishments,
not failures. Further, performance is generally interpreted in terms of outputs because
currently OMSAR does not routinely measure the results or outcomes of its projects or
interventions.

3.       OMSAR has tried to focus on reform interventions which may be considered of high
priority, although it has tended to select those which are likely to command broad based
support both from the bureaucracy and the political leadership. More controversial and
challenging reforms where high levels of resistance, particularly from the Council of
Ministers, are likely to be encountered have been generally avoided. This is a sensible and
pragmatic decision given that OMSAR has never been granted a clear mandate for
administrative reform from successive governments. It has been deliberately tactical in its
choice of initiatives, making good use of the discretion it enjoys whilst at the same time
recognising the substantial political constraints it faces.

Progress towards reform objectives

4.       Overall, six years after the launch of the UNDP project, it would be difficult to
conclude whether any progress has been made towards the four original objectives. They
are generally too broad and, in the absence of an agreed set of performance indicators, they
cannot easily be measured. The exception is the objective to reduce the size and cost of
the public administration where no planned reductions have either been attempted or
achieved. It is doubtful whether much progress, if any, has been made either to modernise
Lebanon’s legislation or to build its management capacity. Some progress has been made
towards the creation of a citizen-orientation administration, although this has been achieved
for a limited number of services in some ministries rather than for the public administration
as a whole.

Assessment of reform interventions

5.      OMSAR has achieved significant successes in ICT and tangible results in work
simplification for the Ministries concerned. Many projects have been successfully completed
and handed over to the respective client organization, although no information is available
on how many citizens have benefited or the extent to which the service has been improved.
                                                                                                1
In contrast, there has been limited, even glacial, progress in most of OMSAR’s work in
organizational restructuring and HR reforms. This is due to a variety of reasons, including
the lack of political support, the very slow pace of legislative change and the lack of
sponsorship within the Civil Service Board. Because of these difficulties, OMSAR has made
a conscious decision to give more attention to supporting organizational change, which has
the potential to deliver quick and visible results, and less to tackling systemic reforms which
affect the entire public administration.

Client satisfaction

6.      There is clearly a high level of satisfaction with the quality of support provided
among OMSAR’s clients based upon the limited number of stakeholders whom the
consultant met, although it should be emphasized that OMSAR does not routinely measure
client satisfaction in a systematic way. Clearly, public institutions value the expertise which
OMSAR is able to mobilise, as well as the ICT equipment which is often part of the package
of support. Indeed, it seems likely that the financial resources controlled by OMSAR helps
to secure the client’s cooperation. In addition, OMSAR has earned a deserved reputation for
excellence in ICT, institutional development and legal drafting, which continues to generate
a demand for assistance from the public administration.

7.      OMSAR’s performance against its full portfolio of reform activities has been
substantially affected by external factors, but it has nonetheless endeavoured to improve
the delivery of projects within the real constraints that it faces. Arguably, it could have
achieved more, especially in the more contentious systemic areas of reform, if it had
enjoyed a clear mandate and legitimate authority derived from the political leadership.

Organization and Management

8.      Although accountable to a Minister of State who has a seat in the Cabinet, OMSAR
has no formal structure within the government machinery. It is best described as an
“executing agency” for reform, albeit without any executive authority. It operates in similar
fashion to a consulting firm delivering assignments for clients, backstopped with financial
resources where needed to entice ministries to engage in a project. This assumed role was
not intended when government first appointed a Minister of State for Administrative Reform;
it has been created and reinforced through successive donor funded projects.

9.      OMSAR’s power over stakeholders is derived from its respected technical expertise
and its access to valued resources. These power bases are sufficient where OMSAR has
willing clients, but inadequate for those reforms where resistance is likely to be
encountered. In such cases, it requires authority derived either from its position within the
machinery of government or from an explicit political mandate. Because it currently lacks
such authority, it has been obliged to collaborate with the Research and Guidance Service of
CSB, a relationship which has generally worked well.

Internal organization structure

10.    The structure of OMSAR is appropriately flat and team work across disciplinary
boundaries is taking place informally. This is evolving into a more formal matrix
management approach which will enable the workloads of OMSAR’s highly qualified and
experienced workforce to be planned more systematically. This is entirely appropriate for
the “executing agency” role which it currently performs. The present structure does have a
                                                                                              2
number of weaknesses but a more in-depth review will be required in order to align it with
the proposed new role that is proposed.

Project and programme management

11.     OMSAR has always employed project management disciplines in its work and the
approach is now being strengthened using the new ProCycle software that has been
developed. It has not managed reform interventions at the programme level although
templates are being developed for this in the planning underway for the new Arab Fund
loan. However, if a programmatic approach is to be adopted, a hierarchy of objectives
needs to be constructed starting with the definition of programme outcomes, linking these
to milestones and then to specific project interventions.

Operating procedures

12.    Team leaders have developed standard operating procedures for OMSAR’s technical
work in work simplification, organization design and ICT. But OMSAR lacks a procedures
manual covering all its operations. There are currently no corporate guidelines for
managing change which is a significant omission given that effective change management is
recognised as essential for the success of reform interventions.

Options for Change

13.     OMSAR cannot continue to operate exclusively by negotiating organizational
development projects with individual ministries. These will not result in sustainable change
unless the systemic problems are tackled. But, in view of the very limited progress in
tackling such problems in the last 40-50 years, an unconventional approach needs to be
found to achieve a breakthrough. In contrast to the experience of other countries, it is
apparent that a permanent fiscal crisis and high debt levels have not motivated successive
governments to reform the public administration. Inevitably, reform in Lebanon will be
modest and incremental in view of the sectarian divisions which have the power to block
change at both the political and bureaucratic levels.

14.     It is proposed that OMSAR should take its lead from a government owned plan of
action which should not be rigid or prescriptive. It would identify issues to be tackled rather
than solutions to be implemented. Practical solutions would be developed through a
process of dialogue with key stakeholders, orchestrated by OMSAR, for which new
influencing skills would be required.

Reform priorities

15.    Some reform options are presented in Chapter IV to assist OMSAR in pursuing this
approach. These include both process and substantive interventions, because some of the
obstacles to reform must be overcome if there is to be any progress on the substance. In
terms of process, OMSAR should:-

      Focus more sharply on a few key priorities which have the potential for wider
       application across the public administration;
      Reduce the level of ambition because the “outputs” currently sought are not
       consistent with the modest and incremental approach which is the only practical way
       forward in Lebanon;
                                                                                               3
       Proceed with interventions in small steps, create visible benefits, learn from the
        experience and gradually build the accumulated steps into larger programmes; and
       Forge alliances with key constituents to create a critical mass of sponsors to enable
        particular issues to proceed.

16.     In respect of substance, it is proposed that OMSAR should develop a coherent
service delivery improvement programme for the public administration which builds upon
OMSAR’s experiences of work simplification, ICT, INFORMS, Citizen’s Charters and
organization design. To embed this approach OMSAR could promote or implement a
national “client voice” initiative in which the levels of satisfaction and needs of citizens
regarding public services are solicited. It could also monitor the service standards which
should be incorporated in Citizen’s Charters. To support this programme, OMSAR should
consider setting up a challenge fund to allocate technical assistance and resources on a
competitive basis to ministries who make a commitment to tackling a difficult service
delivery issue with the potential to benefit many citizens.

17.   In addition, a number of important systemic issues are put forward as a potential
menu of high priority issues from which an emergent programme may be constructed:-

     Build management capability in the public administration through improved
      processes of selection, development and reward. This is a pre-condition for a public
      administration to reform itself and can be started for the most senior positions in a
      few key ministries and central agencies;

     Re-think the institutional architecture (ministries, agencies, public institutions) of the
      public sector in a phased manner. The work could proceed sector by sector,
      examining the governance and autonomy of agencies and their relationships with
      ministries and the Prime Minister’s Office;

       Strengthen one or two key management processes (e.g. decision making,
        coordination, developing competencies, measuring results) which could potentially
        make a significant impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector
        organizations;

     Enhance the government’s policy formulation and implementation process with a
      view to speeding up the process by which new policies are converted into legislation,
      approved by the executive and finally enacted by Parliament. This will be an
      intricate and sensitive issue because it touches upon the relationship between the
      administration and the political leadership, but addressing it does have the potential
      to reduce significantly the current burden on the latter as well as increasing the pace
      of reform;

       Build public accountability in the bureaucracy, both upwards to the executive and
        outwards to clients and citizens, and moving gradually towards a culture of results,
        whilst retaining a tight control on the key processes. The new strategic planning
        initiative to be supported by the Arab Fund and the EU may be a good opportunity
        to strengthen accountability for results; and




                                                                                                4
     Modernise human resource policies and regulations (laws, procedures) on an
      incremental basis and build capacity in CSB. A start could be made by identifying
      one or two processes which are important but not politically sensitive, such as
      training, human resource planning or performance management.

18.    In moving towards tackling the systemic problems facing the civil service, it needs to
be emphasized that OMSAR does not need to possess all the expertise in-house. Ideally,
that should reside in the central agencies responsible for leading on particular initiatives.

Future role of OMSAR

19.     Strengthening OMSAR to address these new priorities will be a difficult challenge.
First, OMSAR needs to adopt a new role and style of operation, and move away from the
“executing agency” model which has been encouraged by successive aid agreements. The
new model will be more complex, placing considerably more emphasis on the leadership and
coordination of reform. Coordination of disparate initiatives however cannot be
accomplished until a coherent reform programme has emerged by applying the issue based
approach. And the “executing agency” model should not be abandoned overnight because
it has served OMSAR well; instead it should be adapted towards the adoption of more
strategic pilots. The main responsibilities of OMSAR consistent with this hybrid model are
set out in Chapter IV.

Status and institutional location

20.      Changes in the status and institutional location of OMSAR are strongly indicated if
OMSAR is to exercise this new role. Unfortunately, based on our assessment of the
advantages and disadvantages of different options, there appears to be no one best solution
at the present time. One reason is that weaknesses in the institutional structures at the
centre of government reduce the practicality of the two most common solutions adopted in
other countries, namely a dedicated central agency or department in the Prime Minister’s
Office or the integration of the reform function within a Ministry of Public Service.
However, the option of a separate Ministry of Administrative Reform has few advantages,
and more disadvantages, compared with the current situation. If OMSAR is to change, the
option of a central agency in the Prime Minister’s Office appears the best alternative because
it could enable its present culture and autonomy to be preserved. But, unless the centre of
government is restructured, it may fail to attract the Prime Minister’s attention and it could
lose its voice in the Council of Ministers. There remains a case therefore for OMSAR to
maintain its current institutional location and seek alternative means of enhancing its
influence.

Other options

21.   There are three other options which, if implemented in tandem, are likely to have a
more substantial impact in empowering OMSAR than any structural change, namely:-

      Legal mandate. First, the Council of Ministers could issue a decision to give OMSAR
       a clear mandate which also defines its relationships with other ministries and
       agencies. This mandate should be based on the responsibilities (as defined above)
       which reflect the hybrid model proposed;

                                                                                             5
      Government owned reform plan. Second, the Council of Ministers could endorse a
       three year plan prepared by OMSAR in consultation with other stakeholders. This
       would empower OMSAR to perform its coordination and monitoring function; and

      Higher committee for reform. Third, the Government could establish a higher
       committee chaired by the Prime Minister on which central agencies (having
       responsibility for leading particular reform initiatives) and key line Ministries (affected
       by reform) should be represented. OMSAR, acting as a Secretariat, would submit
       regular progress reports against the approved plan to this committee.

22.    Taking these three critical steps will clearly require a significant degree of political
commitment to reform. The Minister of State will need to take the initiative with the
Council of Ministers.

Staffing

23.       The future staffing requirements of OMSAR will depend crucially on the specific role
which OMSAR adopts and the particular reform interventions which gain traction. Some
flexibility in staffing arrangements will clearly be necessary and a combination of permanent
and contracted staff would seem to be most appropriate. For the “leader” and
“coordinator” reform models advocated in this report, different skill sets will be needed, for
instance in change management, programme management and evaluation, and
communications. And more generalists who possess a wide range of experience will be
needed than technical specialists who possess narrower skill sets.




                                                                                                  6
I       INTRODUCTION

The Assignment

1.1    Two consultants (one international and one national) were engaged by UNDP at the
request of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform to conduct an independent review
of OMSAR’s mandates and achievements. The specific objectives set out in the Terms of
Reference were as follow:-

       Assess the performance and achievements of OMSAR against its stated objectives;
       Identify and recommend areas for future interventions with a view to increasing the
        efficiency and impact of OMSAR’s activities;
       Develop and outline the future strategic direction for OMSAR to play the role of the
        central administrative reform and coordinating body.

1.2     The present Minister is concerned about value for money given the substantial
resources provided by donors and the Government of Lebanon for administrative reform
which has been channelled through OMSAR since its inception. He expects the review to
identify achievements, delays and the reasons underlying this performance, including those
related to OMSAR’s capacity and the methods employed. In addition, he is seeking advice
on the focus of OMSAR’s work in the next five to seven years and how it can improve upon
its current levels of performance. Since a new government is shortly to be formed following
the recent parliamentary elections, it is anticipated that the analysis and options for change
outlined in this report will also be considered in the dialogue between the donor community
and the Government of Lebanon on the scope of administrative reform and the future
mandate of OMSAR.1

1.3     The assignment was carried out over a five week period during July and August
2009. A desk review was first carried out based on documentation made available by
OMSAR prior to the international consultant’s arrival in Lebanon. This was followed by two
weeks field work in Beirut during which the consultant conducted semi-structured interviews
with OMSAR staff, government officials and other key stakeholders. Further documentation
on OMSAR’s organization structure, staffing and expenditure was provided during this
period. A debriefing session was convened with OMSAR’s management and UNDP
immediately prior to the consultant’s departure to obtain feedback on the preliminary
findings and key issues identified. A draft report was then submitted to OMSAR and UNDP
after a peer review carried out by Dr Adnan Iskandar. The final report incorporates
feedback obtained from the Minister of State and OMSAR’s management during a week of
discussions in Beirut in the beginning of September 2009.

Acknowledgements

1.4    The wide scope of this assignment, especially the sheer number and range of
OMSAR interventions, posed a substantial challenge for the international consultant in a two
week visit to Lebanon. It could not have been accomplished without the active interest and

1
  It may be observed that the name of OMSAR in Arabic has changed (although not in English) to emphasize its
role in administrative “development” rather than “reform.” This suggests that administrative change in Lebanon
is viewed as more incremental than transformational in nature, which reduces the anxiety of many stakeholders

                                                                                                             7
cooperation of OMSAR’s senior management and professional staff, and stakeholders in
ministries and agencies. In particular, the consultant would like to thank the Minister of
State for articulating his concerns and priorities for the review, and taking a personal
interest in the outcome, and Andre Amiouni for organizing the programme of interviews and
sharing his insights. He is grateful to everyone interviewed who were generous with their
time and shared their views openly.

Administrative Reform in Lebanon

1.5     After the civil war ended in 1989, Lebanon faced the formidable challenges of
repairing its physical infrastructure, rebuilding its government institutions, healing a sharply
divided society and reviving a formerly vibrant economy. Addressing these challenges
brought the shortcomings of the public administration into a much sharper focus because it
was expected to play a key role in the overall reconstruction process. Whilst many of these
problems were caused by the war, it also needs to be recognised that weaknesses (as well
as strengths) were inherited when Lebanon was freed from the French mandate, in
particular a highly rule-bound and legalistic administration. There has been only one serious
effort to reform Lebanon’s public administration during President Chehab’s regime in 1958-
59 and since then there have been many attempts to dilute or reverse the accomplishments
of this period. Furthermore, during the 15 years of civil war, Lebanon was left behind by
external developments such as globalisation, the spread of market economies and
democratic political systems, and the revolution in information and communications
technology (ICT.)

1.6      In 1990, Lebanon’s public service was already facing a number of significant issues
including: (a) political interference in the operations of the service; (b) widespread
corruption among politicians and within the bureaucracy; (c) a degraded skill base because
of its inability to compete in salary terms with the private sector; (d) archaic organization
structures in many ministries and agencies which have been amended in an ad hoc and
arbitrary fashion; (e) highly routine and cumbersome work methods which have contributed
to the increasing lack of confidence of citizens in the service’s ability to provide basic
services; (f) the lack of modern HR processes for classifying jobs, rewarding public
employees, recruiting and selecting employees and appraising individual performance; and
(g) the limited use of information technology. These problems were accentuated as a
result of the civil war, in particular through:-

      emigration and the freezing of appointments;
      a sharp increase in corruption because of the collapse of government authority and
       the pressures exerted by armed militias; and
      an increase in political interference in the form of patronage appointments which
       undermined the fragile merit system.

1.7     The government was unable to tackle these problems immediately because it was
pre-occupied with more urgent issues such as unifying a divided society, restoring law and
order, disarming the militias and reconstructing damaged government buildings. It was not
until the mid-1990s when the World Bank offered a project loan that government turned its
attention to the reform of the public administration. As of 2009, it should be emphasized
that less than 15 years is a very short time to create significant improvements in an
administration which has undergone no meaningful reform since the late 1950s. It has
taken many developed countries several decades to reform their public services in conditions
which were far more favourable than in Lebanon.
                                                                                              8
Evolution of OMSAR

1.8    The first cabinet of the post war period in 1990 included a Minister of State for
Administrative Reform. However, the Minister lacked an office and had to rely on a few
personnel who worked in the Civil Service Board. In 1995, the World Bank loan agreement
for administrative rehabilitation provided for the creation of an office for the Minister,
comprising a Technical Cooperation Unit (TCU) and an Institutional Development unit (IDU.)
This agreement marked the emergence of OMSAR as the official reform machinery in
Lebanon and tasked it with undertaking a list of priority reform activities. However, it
stopped short of presenting a coherent and integrated plan for administrative reform. The
two units became functional after 1996 when UNDP provided a grant to the government to
finance the salaries of experienced professional staff, who could not be attracted on
government salary scales.

1.9     OMSAR, however, lacks a permanent legal mandate and in practice its work has
been determined in an ad hoc fashion by a combination of its own management, donor
agencies and occasional Cabinet decisions. There is currently no coherent guiding strategy
or plan endorsed by government which provides direction for its day to day activities and
against which it is required to report.2 Accountability to government is therefore generally
weak although, unlike other ministries, it does at least produce and publish an annual report
on its accomplishments and activities, as well as quarterly progress reports to the Prime
Minister. In contrast, OMSAR is generally held to account by the donor agencies which
finance its activities. More detail is provided in Chapter III.




2
  The Paris III document of 2007 is the latest statement of administrative reform intentions but it is sketchy and
limited in scope.

                                                                                                                 9
II         REVIEW OF PERFORMANCE

2.1      The review set out to examine OMSAR’s performance since its inception from two
perspectives: first, were its plans and activities targeted towards the government’s reform
priorities and second, did it accomplish what it set out to do? For the second question, two
aspects of performance - outputs (the services delivered) and outcomes (the impact of
these services) - have been considered. That is, achievements capture instances where
OMSAR has completed a “product” or fulfilled a service for a client, as well as those cases
where these deliverables were subsequently implemented and led to concrete results. Client
satisfaction obtained from interviews with key stakeholders has been used to supplement
the available performance data.

2.2      It was not easy to answer the first question because hitherto governments have not
committed to a clear or coherent set of priorities to be implemented within a particular time
frame. The long-term Administrative Reform Strategy developed by OMSAR in 2001 was
accepted, but not embraced, by the Council of Ministers. No short- or medium-term
priorities were established and no implementation plan was prepared. Neither of the two E-
government strategies developed in 2002 and 2007 has been considered or approved by the
Council of Ministers. Government’s priorities have tended to emerge in ad hoc fashion in
the form of specific decisions by the Council of Ministers and through foreign aid
agreements. These decisions and aid agreements have been taken as a point of reference,
together with the administrative reform initiatives set out in the GoL’s Paris III document of
January 2007.3

2.3       In the absence of a stable medium-term plan, the four broad objectives set out in
the 2002 UNDP project document have been used as the main benchmark against which to
judge OMSAR’s accomplishments. Almost all initiatives can be classified under one of these
four objectives.4 At the same time, it is recognised, that the specific interventions have
changed over time because of OMSAR’s legitimate opportunistic approach to reform. It was
not possible to undertake a comprehensive review in the time available partly because
OMSAR’s work is divided into a very large number of projects but also because OMSAR’s
reports reflect accomplishments only, thereby excluding initiatives where there has been
little or no progress, or which were not completed. Two further difficulties experienced
were the lack of data on project results and outcomes, and the current practice of reporting
expenditure against line item rather than programme which makes it impossible to judge
whether good value for money has been achieved. Before any similar review is carried out
in future, it is essential for OMSAR to build an information system which measures actual
performance against both the outcomes and key performance targets which are in the
process of being formulated for the new Arab Fund loan.




3
  The document placed emphasis on the continued streamlining and automation of work processes to reduce
citizens’ interface with public employees, thereby mitigating the risk of corruption. Significantly, it also specified
that government intended to introduce transparent and merit-based recruitment for grade 1 positions. It is
understood that further initiatives in human resource management, such as the creation of HR units in ministries
and agencies, were added to the plans following the dialogue with donors.

4
    Exceptions are the small scale performance improvement initiatives and the anti-corruption work.

                                                                                                                   10
2.4    Accordingly, the approach adopted has been to assess the level of achievement for
the broad interventions set out in the 2002 UNDP project document relying principally upon
documentation provided by OMSAR. In addition, a select few critical activities have been
reviewed in more detail through discussions with OMSAR staff, supported in some cases by
evidence from beneficiary organizations. The assessment therefore takes account of
projects funded by the Arab Fund and the EU, including some which were initiated prior to
2002.

Alignment with national priorities

2.5      Since 2002, successive governments have not established clear or time-bound
priorities either for administrative reform or E-government, although particular thematic
areas (e.g. organizational restructuring, work simplification) have been identified for
attention by OMSAR through ad hoc decisions by the Council of Ministers. In the absence of
concrete guidance, OMSAR has had the freedom to select particular interventions which fall
within the seven strategic objectives in the Administrative Reform Strategy of 2001 and the
four pillars of the E-government strategy of 2002, and to then to identify specific projects in
receptive ministries and agencies for each of these interventions. However, two points
need to be stressed. First, priorities cannot now be derived from a strategy that was
“approved” by a previous government. Second, although there is a strong case for
opportunism in the Lebanese environment, implementing a reform programme is not like
choosing dishes from a menu. The specific interventions ideally need to be properly
integrated and sequenced to maximise the impact, not executed as stand-alone initiatives.
There is a strong case, therefore, for OMSAR to gravitate towards a programme approach to
reform as discussed in Chapter III.

2.6     Most attention has been given to the second, fourth, fifth and seventh objectives,
that is structures of public administration, quality of the civil service, streamlining and
modernising procedures, and client and results orientation respectively. Even so, within
these objectives, OMSAR has not addressed some of the more intractable problems, such as
the centralization of political and administrative authority. Virtually no attention has been
given to examining the core functions of the State, strengthening government policy making
or enhancing governance, including transparency and accountability. For pragmatic
reasons, OMSAR has tended to eschew interventions where it has anticipated substantial
resistance from politicians.

2.7      Our assessment is that currently most effort in terms of time and resources is being
invested in streamlining and modernising procedures, and promoting a client orientation
within the public administration, both of which command widespread political and
bureaucratic support, thereby facilitating agreements with willing clients. This was not the
case in the past where considerable time was spent on ministry restructuring, job
classification and performance improvement planning. Further, ICT projects now account
for the lion’s share of resources used, which is understandable given the large budget
earmarked by the Arab Fund for ICT equipment. However, in spite of the attention OMSAR
has devoted to promoting client orientation, it has so far not made any systematic attempt
to measure citizens’ level of satisfaction with the delivery of public services. Nor has it
developed a system for assessing the impact of its interventions more generally.

2.8     In this context it should be emphasized that OMSAR does not have a monopoly over
administrative reform interventions. Financial management reforms are being led by the
Ministry of Finance and reforms in particular sectors have been carried out by the Ministries
                                                                                            11
of Health, Education and Interior. OMSAR has had no input to these initiatives.
Significantly, the Prime Minister’s Office has received a grant from the EU for some
administrative reform projects which is entrusted to a special team. The government,
abetted by some donors (the EU and others), has therefore managed to fragment its reform
programme and undermine the legitimacy of OMSAR as a coordinating body.

Modern management capacities

2.9     The objective is to develop and establish modern management capacities in key
public sector organizations. “Management capacity” is an umbrella concept which
potentially captures a wide range of interventions from the development of managerial skills
to the introduction of core managerial processes. The UNDP project document originally
selected six “national outcomes” all of which are explicitly identified in OMSAR’s Annual
Report of 2003. An overall assessment is provided against these six interventions in Figure
1 and a more detailed narrative assessment given below for select interventions. Overall, it
may be concluded that very little change has been achieved with the notable exception of
the automation of key ministries and agencies which is examined separately from paragraph
2.41 onwards.

                    Figure 1: Review of Modern Management Capacities

        Intervention                  Assessment                     Comments

1.1 National commitment and       Partly achieved         Administrative reform strategy
consensus built to strategic                              developed, distributed to key
development vision                                        stakeholders for feedback and
                                                          workshops held. But no
                                                          consensus was achieved. E-
                                                          government strategy developed,
                                                          disseminated and workshops
                                                          convened.
1.2 Human resource databases      Not achieved            These have not been finalised
established in key sectors
1.3 Modern job classification     Not achieved            The classification of jobs within a
adopted                                                   grading structure is now
                                                          considered too ambitious an
                                                          objective
1.4 Human resource reform         Partly achieved         Some policies and processes
policies developed and adopted                            developed but not approved or
                                                          implemented
1.5 Control agencies and key      Partly achieved         Projects successfully implemented
ministries modernised and                                 in the organizations targeted for
automated                                                 support
1.6 Results oriented              Very limited progress   Performance measurement
administration introduced                                 system initiated with Central
                                                          Inspection




                                                                                          12
Job classification

2.10 The job classification exercise was launched in 1994 with a team of 12-15 job
analysts engaged by OMSAR which was supported by an international expert. By 2002
15,000 different positions had been analysed into their constituent factors and job
descriptions for the positions in each ministry and agency prepared and subsequently
approved by Directors-General. The team also evaluated every job in terms of the agreed
factors and assigned each to one of 13 grades based on their relative worth. However, the
Civil Service Board was reluctant to apply the results of the job classification and for several
years no action was taken. Recently, the current Minister has persuaded the CSB to
establish a Steering Committee, on which 10 ministries are represented, to review, update
and initiate the application of the job descriptions.

2.11 It is intended that the final job descriptions will be used more narrowly as a basis for
ministries and agencies to manage the performance of individual staffs. This is a legitimate
aim provided steps are taken to measure results as well as the activities contained in
traditional job descriptions. In practice, however, even this narrow objective is likely to take
a considerable time since many jobs will have changed significantly as a result of the
process simplification and automation that has taken place. More important, jobs cannot be
accurately designed unless the Ministry’s objectives and structures have been determined
first, which in most cases has not happened. Therefore, it is important that the scope of
this project is critically re-examined before any further time and resources are invested.

2.12 The original objective to classify all jobs within a new grading structure has been
abandoned because OMSAR considers there is insufficient political support for its
implementation. Presumably the same conclusion could have been drawn when this
initiative started, in which case it represents a substantial waste of time, effort and
resources. Inevitably there will be individual “winners” and “losers” in any new classification
and there is a risk therefore that this could create conflict in the current political
environment. Yet, some form of job classification will be required to establish pay levels
which are both internally equitable across the civil service and, where necessary, externally
competitive. There is no other option. The costs of doing nothing are depressed
motivation (because salary differences are not perceived to be fair) and lowered productivity
(because key skills cannot be attracted and retained.)

HR policies and procedures

2.13 According to the 2003 Annual Report, the original plan was to introduce improved
policies and processes for performance appraisal, testing and recruitment, and promotion
and motivation. The proposed promotion system has not been reviewed.

2.14 Working in collaboration with the CSB, OMSAR proposed a new system of
performance appraisal for civil servants in 2002. The proposal was approved by the Board
of the CSB and then submitted to the Council of Ministers. As of 2009 it remains with the
Presidency of the Council of Ministers. The proposal may be stuck there because it
coincided with a conflicting instruction from the Council to introduce a coercive appraisal
system linked to disciplinary action. Providing an explicit link between appraisal and
discipline is not considered good practice.



                                                                                              13
2.15 OMSAR also designed a modern testing system for new recruits using a variety of
assessment techniques to replace CSB’s reliance on written examinations. The report was
submitted to CSB in 2003 but the proposed system was not implemented. However, it is
understood that CSB may now be willing to introduce an improved system provided it can
get access to resources and equipment for implementation.

2.16 Arguably the most significant HR intervention was the attempt by OMSAR to apply a
transparent merit-based recruitment and selection process for grade 1 officials. This
initiative was requested by the Prime Minister and identified in 2007 as a priority in the
Government’s Paris III document. An appropriate recruitment and selection process was
successfully designed by an external consultant engaged by OMSAR in consultation with
other stakeholders. It involved the placement of advertisements, which solicited applicants
from within and outside the civil service, screening by OMSAR and the interviewing of
shortlisted candidates by selection committees which included independent members. Three
qualified candidates were recommended for each position advertised. However, individual
Ministers lobbied the Prime Minister to stop the process because it adversely affected their
vested interests and, as a result, only five candidates were appointed in two agencies.
Ultimately, therefore, Ministers were reluctant to relinquish their rights to nominate their
preferred candidates for senior positions.

Results oriented administration

2.17 A key project to strengthen the results orientation of the public administration is the
organizational performance measurement system for the Central Inspection. It was started
in 2000 with financial support from the ARLA project (EU funded) and intermittent support
from OMSAR was provided over a five year period. Generic and sector performance
indicators were identified for ministries and agencies with the assistance of an EU expert.
Ministries were expected to provide reports to the Central Inspection showing actual
performance for each indicator. Inspectors would also continue to undertake field visits to
verify levels of performance. A number of inspectors in the Central Inspection were trained,
who in turn trained some of their colleagues. The new system was piloted in two ministries
and was expected to be rolled out more widely.

2.18 The performance measurement system was appreciated by the management of the
Central Inspection when it was introduced. However, it is understood that it has not been
applied systematically since OMSAR’s support ended. The reasons given by Central
Inspection are that the personnel trained have left the organization and there are no
resources for information technology. The results oriented approach has not replaced the
traditional process oriented inspections. The consultant was informed that both systems are
currently operating in parallel with most effort devoted to traditional inspections where staffs
possess the appropriate skills. Inspections were described as in a state of transition
although it is difficult to see how a cut over to the improved process can be accomplished in
the current circumstances. With the benefit of hindsight, an alternative approach would
have been to transform gradually the existing inspection process rather than setting up an
entirely different approach in parallel.

Performance improvement planning

2.19 The Performance Improvement Planning (PIP) initiative was launched in 2001 as a
pilot project in four agencies with the support of the EU funded ARLA project. The four
agencies were the Electricity Authority of Lebanon, the Water Authority of Beirut, the
                                                                                             14
National Employment Agency and the Real Estate Directorate. The exercise was
underpinned by a strategic planning methodology, developed by OMSAR, which was applied
to a particular department, function or service identified by the agency as in need of
improvement. Workshops were conducted to introduce and explain the methodology and
subsequently each agency nominated counterpart staff to work with OMSAR experts.
Action plans were prepared following the methodology which covered areas such as an
efficient invoicing system, a computer-based complaints handling system and a national
marketing plan. All of these plans were successfully implemented by the pilot agencies but
the process of performance planning has not been sustained because the ARLA project
ended when the deliverables had been achieved.

Management training

2.20 This initiative was funded by the EU through the ARLA project in 2005 and it is
therefore not explicitly included as an intervention in the original UNDP project document.
OMSAR organized training for Directors-General under the banner of “workshops” because it
was believed (correctly) that senior managers are often averse to attend formal training
sessions. 10 workshops were conducted which included themes such as “Building
performance-based organizations”, “Analytical tools in decision-making”, and “Creative
leadership and change management.” These workshops were conceptual and trainer-led
and it is considered that future training needs to be more participative. This is a legitimate
view because senior managers usually have a great deal of relevant experience that they
will wish to contribute to any training event.

2.21 Although the training probably had a short-term impact on the attitudes of
individuals, there is no evidence of its impact. In fact, OMSAR’s assessment is that it is
difficult to put new knowledge into practice because Lebanon’s public service has “too many
problems.” A common reason why management training fails is that the organizational
environment to which mangers return is not receptive to the application of new skills and
knowledge. This problem should therefore have been anticipated. An alternative
approach would have been first to identify real organizational problems which managers are
trying to address and to structure training to help managers solve these problems. This
approach makes training immediately relevant and practical.

Workshops

2.22 OMSAR has organized over 100 (mainly) inter-ministerial workshops which aim to
create awareness of reform interventions initiated by OMSAR, to learn from the reform
experiences of other countries, to allow individual participants to their own problems and
experiences, and to build commitment to change. These workshops may be seen as an
integral part of OMSAR’s communications activities rather than specific training events.
Some of these workshops are as follow:-

      The role of the State
      Administrative reform
      Work ethics and tackling corruption
      Human resource management
      Total quality management
      Performance indicators
      E-government applications
      Decentralization
                                                                                             15
      Single window to government
      Good governance

Size and cost of public administration

2.23 The objective is to reduce the size and cost of public administration. Four
interventions were identified in the UNDP project document of 2002 and are reflected in
OMSAR’s 2003 Annual Report. It is unclear to the consultant how interventions 2.2 and 2.4
are directly related to the overall objective. Nonetheless, based on the information
provided, limited progress has been made overall which in large measure reflects a lack of
attention given by OMSAR relative to the other three objectives. OMSAR has succeeded in
developing proposals and revised laws but, with the exception of the CSB law (59/114)
which creates a new HR strategy department, none of these have been approved by
government.

                        Figure 2: Size and Cost of Public Administration

       Intervention                       Assessment                        Comments

2.1 Analysis and                 Not achieved                      No information provided in
consolidation of existing data                                     accomplishments
on the size of the                                                 documentation
administration
2.2 Access to updated            Not achieved                      No information provided in
executive level data by                                            accomplishments
decision-makers                                                    documentation
2.3 Develop policy proposals     Partially achieved                Proposals made but not
to reduce excess cost                                              adopted by CoM
2.4 Review and reform            Partially achieved                This initiative is at the
functions of control agencies                                      inception stage

Policy proposals to reduce excess cost

2.24 OMSAR completed a study in 2002 on the size and cost of the public sector which
was requested by the Council of Ministers. Recommendations were made regarding
outsourcing, privatisation and new policies in the social sectors (e.g. the location of schools)
which could potentially result in staff reductions. None of the recommendations were
adopted by the Council of Ministers. However, OMSAR continues to work on outsourcing
projects with interested ministries on a case by case basis.

2.25 Reducing the size of the public sector is politically sensitive in any environment and
few governments in developing and middle income countries have succeeded in making
deep cuts in the number of public servants because of the social and political consequences.
A quick fix to stop the future growth of the public service is to abolish vacant posts, many of
which exist in Lebanon. However, this would not actually reduce the numbers and one
relatively painless method of achieving this is through natural attrition. This is an option
open to Lebanon because many civil servants are approaching retirement age. Currently
there is a recruitment freeze on filling permanent positions, but it is understood that
government tends to replace leavers with contractual appointments which are not subject to
the same controls. It seems, therefore, that there is little political will to control the size of
the public service.
                                                                                                16
Modernisation of Legislation

2.26 The objective is simply to modernise legislation. This is a very general objective
which does not specify which legislation was to be revised or, more important, what is the
purpose of modernisation. Normally legislation is a means to an end, usually to enable a
policy change to be implemented. OMSAR has in the main interpreted this objective as the
modernisation of laws which establish the mandates and high level organization structures
of ministries and agencies. But it also involves a wider goal of improving the overall quality
of legislation, which is captured under intervention 3.3. Of the four interventions listed in
the UNDP project document, based on the information made available to us, only one has
been accomplished to a limited extent.

                            Figure 3: Modernisation of Legislation

          Intervention                    Assessment                     Comments

3.1 Review of current laws and Achieved to a limited 8 laws to reorganize ministries
regulations                       extent             prepared, but only 3 approved
                                                     by the respective ministry and
                                                     Parliament
3.2 Promote decentralization and Not achieved        No information provided in
deconcentration                                      accomplishments
                                                     documentation
3.3 Legislation on collection and Not achieved       No information provided in
access to statistics                                 accomplishments
                                                     documentation
3.4 Better regulations            Not achieved       No information provided in
                                                     accomplishments
                                                     documentation

Review of current laws and regulations

2.27 OMSAR started to work on legislation to organize public institutions in 2002 following
a decision by the Council of Ministers that all ministries wishing to restructure should seek
the advice of OMSAR. This work is seen as long overdue since the mandates and structures
of ministries were developed more than 40 years ago. However, restructuring is regarded
as voluntary, not compulsory, to be initiated by individual ministries, which has resulted in
restructuring in piecemeal fashion. OMSAR has worked in close collaboration with the
Research and Guidance Service of the CSB which has the legal mandate to authorise
structural changes.

2.28 OMSAR has received requests to restructure from 10 ministries and draft laws were
prepared by 2005. However, four years later, only the Ministry of Youth and Sports has
completed the full process which involves the approval of the law and a supporting
organizational decree which provides for further layering of the organization structure.
Three ministries have had revised laws approved by Parliament and OMSAR has started to
support these ministries in more detailed organization design work. Work is ongoing with
the Ministry of Social Affairs which is undergoing its third attempt to restructure itself for
reasons that are unclear. However, the consultant was informed by the Ministry that the
draft law has almost been prepared. On the negative balance, five ministries have not
                                                                                             17
endorsed the draft laws that were prepared with the support of OMSAR. OMSAR has
followed up by writing to these ministries but it has not received a response from any of
them. Four years on it may be reasonably assumed that the draft laws are defunct.

2.29 It has taken OMSAR seven years to reach this very modest level of achievement.
The process is time consuming largely because of the requirement for three levels of
approval for the revised law, namely the concerned Minister, the Council of Ministers and
Parliament. For many ministries the work can easily fall at the first hurdle, perhaps
because of a change of minister with a different view. And even if the revised law is
passed, this is only the starting point for the detailed organization design. A better way
must be found. OMSAR has suggested that it may be possible to find a way to have the full
organization structures approved by the Council of Ministers, rather than Parliament by
amending Law No. 111 of June 1959. Such a change, however, may be unconstitutional.

2.30 A more radical approach would be to consider alternative ways to improve the
effectiveness of Lebanon’s ministries. Structure is not organization and Ministries may be
better advised to strengthen their core management processes (e.g. performance
measurement, communication, decision making, rewards) as a quicker and more reliable
route to improve their effectiveness.

HR units in Ministries

2.31 OMSAR has collaborated with the Civil Service Board to have HR units established in
all ministries to replace the traditional Bureaus of Personnel which currently exist. The CSB
has decided that 21 new units will be created reporting to the Minister to avoid the creation
of around to 80 units under each Director-General. This is not a desirable solution since it
brings Ministers closer to the HR function and it may increase the opportunities for political
interference in personnel decisions. This dilemma illustrates a major weakness with the
organization of Lebanon’s ministries, namely that most of them do not have a single
administrative head to manage and coordinate the ministry’s operations. This role cannot
be left to the Minister who is a politician not an administrator.

2.32 The new draft law required to establish these units has been approved by the
Council of Ministers and OMSAR anticipates that the law will be passed in Parliament.
Unfortunately, these units will be granted responsibility not authority because most
personnel decisions will continue to be vested in CSB according to the Civil Service Law.
Changing the decision making powers to give more authority to ministries is seen as a next
step. This attempt to strengthen and modernise the HR function is a laudable endeavour.
However, it is difficult to see how a structural change will achieve very much unless the right
people can be attracted, trained and, most important, retained. Appropriate pay incentives
and meaningful discretion are prerequisites for achieving a successful outcome.

Procurement law

2.33 OMSAR has contributed to the development of new public procurement legislation.
Two draft laws were submitted to the Council of Ministers to establish a new procurement
framework and a regulatory authority to replace the more than 40 year old current law.
However, because of different opinions in Cabinet, a request was made to revise and
resubmit the legislation. It is anticipated that it will take time for the laws to be enacted by
Parliament. In the meantime, improved bidding documents are now being piloted in
OMSAR.
                                                                                              18
2.34 OMSAR is playing a leading role in public procurement reform and it has received
around $500,000 through the Development Gateway Foundation to build capacity for
implementing the new Public Procurement Law. At the same time, it is understood the
Institute of Finance (attached to the Ministry of Finance) has been given a training grant for
the same purpose. This example illustrates the lack of aid coordination within the donor
community which the Government of Lebanon has little interest in addressing.

Citizen-oriented administration

2.35 This heading is not elaborated upon as an objective in the 2002 UNDP project
document. The Paris III document of 2007 defines the objective more precisely as follows:
“to promote citizen-oriented administration through work simplification and advancing E-
government.” This formulation has shifted emphasis towards the first two of the five
interventions which appeared in the original project document. Much has been
accomplished in respect of the first intervention, but less for the remaining four.

                            Figure 4: Review of Citizen-oriented administration

           Intervention                            Assessment                             Comments

4.1 Implement projects for               Partially achieved                     8 simplified procedures in
simplification of procedures                                                    operation in 5 institutions
in key ministries and
institutions
4.2 E-government strategy                Partially achieved                     E-government strategy
(ICT strategies and master                                                      developed but not approved.
plans)                                                                          ICT master plans developed
                                                                                for some ministries and
                                                                                agencies
4.3 Develop and adopt an                 Not achieved                           No information provided in
impact assessment                                                               accomplishments
mechanism                                                                       documentation
4.4 Establish a responsive               Partially achieved                     Ombudsman law enacted but
administration                                                                  powers diluted. Draft law
                                                                                prepared on Citizen’s Right
                                                                                to Access Information.
                                                                                Citizen’s Charters developed
                                                                                for some ministries.
4.5 Media coverage on                    Partially achieved                     Significant media coverage
administration                                                                  given to ICT projects and
                                                                                INFORMS initiative

Simplification of procedures

2.36 OMSAR’s work simplification initiatives have been confined to a few procedures in a
limited number of institutions. It has successfully simplified eight work procedures in five
institutions, resulting in a mean reduction in the number of steps by 50 per cent.5 The Port

5
    There is no information on the overall reduction in process time as a result of the reduced number of steps.

                                                                                                                   19
Customs Authorities and the Beirut Port Authorities postponed the implementation of
OMSAR’s recommendations pending the recruitment of an international ports expert.
OMSAR works closely with the Research and Guidance Service of the CSB. Their respective
skills are complementary: the OMSAR team has the requisite skills to carry out simplification
and the Research and Guidance Service has the in-depth knowledge of the regulations
which need to be changed. OMSAR has developed a standard procedure which is used for
all work simplification projects.

2.37 Work simplification is attractive for ministries and agencies because of the visible
benefits it generates for clients. The prospect of acquiring computer hardware and
software, supplied by OMSAR, may also be an incentive. Moreover, since there is no
requirement that a Ministry must lay off public employees who become redundant as a
result of simplification, the outcome of these projects is “all gain and no pain.”6 Even
where simplification ideally requires a reduction in the number of signatures in extended
approval chains, managers are normally asked to relinquish their authority voluntarily. One
constraint on the expansion of OMSAR’s services is an earlier circular from the Prime
Minister which encouraged institutions to do simplification at a time with the assistance of
OMSAR when it lacked resources.

2.38 There are two key issues which need to be addressed. The first is the artificial
compartmentalisation of the work simplification, ICT and INFORMS programmes by virtue of
the existence of separate teams. Each programme addresses different aspects of a common
issue to deliver better services for clients. Effective automation is dependent upon the
redesign of the relevant business process and revising the application form (INFORMS) is
one component of simplification. The second is the question of efficiency. In principle,
work simplification should not only lead to a service being provided more quickly or in a
more convenient fashion, it should also lead to efficiency savings where the removal of
redundant steps results in the elimination of unnecessary work. Even if redundant staffs
cannot be laid off, the ministry should be able to capture the savings by transferring them to
another part of the public administration where they can perform useful work.

Citizen’s charters

2.39 The development of Citizen’s Charters was an OMSAR initiative launched in 2002
with financial support from the EU. A Citizen’s Charter is a simple accessible document
whose purpose is to inform citizens about the services provided by a public organization.
Eight charters were developed through a consultative process in which experts, ministry
representatives and relevant civil society organizations participated. It is understood that
the respective ministers were not directly involved. The documents, produced in booklet
form of around 30 pages, focus on the respective rights and responsibilities of the service
provider on the one hand and citizens on the other hand. The final versions were printed
and discussed at workshops chaired by the then Minister of State.

2.40 However, the charters were not seriously applied which would have required,
amongst other things, a significant investment in raising awareness for both the ministries
and relevant client groups. OMSAR believes each ministry also needs to have a unit within
each ministry to supervise the implementation of the charter. A major issue is the charters
that have been produced are inaccessible, because of their length, and have too narrow a

6
    However, the work itself is not easy as it involves significant team work, persuasion and building of trust.

                                                                                                                   20
focus on rights and responsibilities. They are also too general in their orientation because
they focus on the whole ministry rather than specific services. Charters are often more
effective where they are produced as a single brochure displayed at the relevant service
outlet where they can be viewed by users. Ideally, they should also provide information on
the type of services provided, fees payable, service standards (e.g. timeliness, provider
courtesy) and complaints procedures. And charters should be monitored by the service
provider and ideally civil society groups too. Implementing citizen’s charters effectively
across the public administration would be a massive task.

INFORMS portal

2.41 The Central Office for Administrative Information was established at OMSAR in 2001
to make it more convenient for citizens to obtain services from government. A website has
been created which provides information (fees, application forms, documentation) on over
4,000 transactions, some of which can be downloaded in PDF format. A call centre has also
been set up where citizens can obtain the same information on transactions by calling a toll
free telephone number. The next step, which will be financed under the new Arab Fund
loan, will be to simplify and standardise application forms with a view to introducing on-line
applications at a later stage. The initial target is to revise 100-150 commonly used
application forms. A project committee team has been established involving the INFORMS,
procurement and ICT divisions, and assisted by the Research and Guidance Directorate of
CSB.

2.42 There has been an exponential growth in citizens’ use of the website since it was
created. The number of “hits” each month has increased from 4,000 in 2002 to 99,000 in
2009. In contrast the volumes at the call centre are very low; indeed they have declined
from 50 calls per day in 2002 to 25-30 calls in 2009. This is a cause for concern since the
majority of Lebanese citizens do not have access to the internet. As a result, it is apparent
that this laudable initiative is largely benefitting the middle classes. The team leader
believes there needs to be a further investment in publicity campaigns to increase citizens’
access to information.

Transparency and anti-corruption

2.43 OMSAR has given some attention to strengthening transparency with the aim of
reducing the incidence of corruption. It has succeeded in developing a law to establish the
Office of the Ombudsman which has been passed by Parliament although its independence
and powers were significantly watered down. In addition, it has prepared three laws on
citizens’ access to information, on illicit wealth and conflicts of interest for ministers,
deputies and civil servants. However, all three laws are waiting to be considered by the
Council of Ministers. Despite the shortcomings in these laws, they represent an important
step forward in an area which could not be attempted by reformers in the past.

Information and Communications Technology

2.44 It is not easy to classify OMSAR’s ICT interventions according to the four objectives
examined above and the specifics are considered separately in this section. OMSAR
developed an E-Government strategy in 2002 which forms the basis for its ICT interventions
in the public sector. The strategy was upgraded in 2008. Both documents were submitted
to the Council of Ministers but neither has been considered or approved. However, the lack
of endorsement has not proved to be a barrier to OMSAR’s interventions because public
                                                                                            21
sector organizations are very receptive to the introduction of new technology. Some of the
key achievements are summarised below under each of the four pillars of the E-government
strategy.7

Legal Framework

2.45 The legal framework addresses the aspects of legalizing electronic information and
services, protecting electronic information and securing electronic services.

          Digital Signature and other e-related legislation are under review by a special
           parliamentary committee and are close to being enacted
          A Ministerial ICT committee was appointed by Prime Minister in early 2001 to handle
           national ICT matters with private-public sector partnerships
          Standard guidelines for ICT projects in the public sector have been prepared

Technical framework

2.46 The technical framework addresses: (a) the need for a secure national and global
communications network infrastructure to interconnect all of the government offices in the
country and abroad; (b) the unification of data sources through the establishment of data
centres for government operations and the introduction of a national identity or e-
government personal smart card; (c) branding and standards for e-government applications
(portals or web sites) and associated domain name classifications and directory services.

          Most ministries and agencies have a Local Area Network in place using the latest
           standards and protocols
          More than 750 servers and thousands of computers and peripherals have been
           deployed across government
          Network infrastructure has been established in more than 30 government sites
          A national portal for Geographic Information Systems has been established

Services Framework

2.47 The services framework describes: (a) a number of information dissemination
applications such as government-wide information portals, specific web sites accessible
through the internet by internet account holders or through government established multi-
purpose community tele-centers and/or individual interactive kiosk stations at municipalities;
(b) government online service applications covering government-wide services portal(s) and
a dedicated e-procurement portal; (c) inter-government applications ranging from simple
email exchanges, to workflow, document management and archiving system applications, to
information and decision support system applications and finally to government-to-
government and government-to-employee administrative applications.

          A number of vertical and horizontal systems applications have been deployed,
           including:-
           - Port of Beirut DMS
           - National archives indexing and optical storage system
           - Legal Decisions DMS

7
    This information is based on information provided by OMSAR following the consultant’s visit to Lebanon.

                                                                                                              22
       -   Work Permits
       -   Medical benefits and compensation system for Government Employees
       -   Commercial Registration system at the MOJ
       -   Customs system expansion to cover all five ports of entry
       -   Information offices at various ministries and agencies
       -   Information system for students at the Lebanese University
       -   Database system for the disabled and for the protection of their rights in the
           Ministry of Social Affairs
       -   The development of the insurance companies control system in the Ministry of
           Economy and Trade
       -   Automation of the collection of statistical information in schools
       -   A system for the support of legal decisions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
           Emigrants
       -   Automation of archives and Document Management System at the Presidency of
           the Council of Ministers
       -   Application of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Document Management
           System (DMS) at the Scientific and Agricultural Research Institute
       -   Conversion of microfilm archives to digital form at the National Archives Institute
       -   Implementation of time attendance software

      Support, development and hosting of 60 websites for ministries, agencies and public
       institutions
      Development and hosting of the national identity cards for the Ministry of Interior for
       the parliamentary elections
      Provision of project management support for various agencies on ICT related
       projects
      Enterprise Agreements made with Oracle and Microsoft

Capacity building

2.48 Capacity building focuses on training, educating and raising awareness for both civil
servants and society at large. It also covers guidelines for the E-government operations and
management structure covering both the central government requirements and the
requirement of specific government offices.

      More than 650 civil servants trained on ICT products
      Over 450 civil servants trained on administration of ICT solutions
      Proposed new ICT cadre and salary scale for the public administration has been
       submitted to the Council of ministers for approval
      ICT awareness campaigns conducted and multi-purpose community tele-centres
       provided for citizens
      Private sector ICT awareness promoted through the PICTA initiative, media,
       conferences and exhibitions

2.49 These accomplishments represent a significant success in terms of the delivery of
project “outputs.” However, it should be emphasized that no information has been
provided on interventions that were not completed. Nor does OMSAR follow up projects
systematically after acceptance by the client to determine whether the networks and
applications installed remain in use and are delivering real benefits. In fact, it does not have
a mandate to do so. It is impossible, therefore, to assess the extent to which significant
results and outcomes have been achieved.
                                                                                             23
EU projects

2.50 In this section the three EU projects which are currently being implemented by
OMSAR are reviewed. These projects were introduced after the ARLA project ended when
the EU found itself with unused resources but was unwilling to continue its support for core
administrative reform initiatives in Lebanon. They do not fit into the framework of
objectives set out at the beginning of this chapter. In 2007, these three projects accounted
for 74 per cent of OMSAR’s total project expenditures. They also absorb a significant
amount of the time of the procurement team and project management staffs in OMSAR. In
this respect, the finance provided by the EU is not “free” money. None of these projects
currently has any direct relevance to the reform of Lebanon’s public administration, although
one (AFKAR) is potentially relevant, and they have all been executed as stand-alone
initiatives separate from OMSAR’s mainstream activities. Their implementation should
therefore be relocated in other more appropriate parts of government, although there will
be a requirement to coordinate some of AFKAR’s work with civil society where it
complements OMSAR’s efforts to improve service delivery. Notwithstanding, the
forthcoming EU project designed to support the introduction of strategic planning, the
simplification of procedures, the application of ICT, the development of HRM capacity and
strengthening internal control should remain firmly within OMSAR’s domain.

Solid Waste Management

2.51 The objective of the project is to implement municipal projects for all categories of
solid waste (household, hospitals, agricultural, industrial etc.) covering all stages of the
waste management cycle from collection, through sorting, transferring to treatment. The
project involves construction, the supply of equipment, awareness raising and finance to
meet operations and maintenance costs. The beneficiaries represent around 25 per cent of
the Lebanese population. Implementation started in 2006 and by mid-2008 eight of the 17
sub-projects (just under half) in different localities had been completed. Two extensions
have been requested because of lengthy (EU) procurement procedures, the difficulties of
obtaining construction permits and the disruption caused by the 2006 war with Israel. The
project’s implementation deadline has now been extended to December 2011.

Improvement of Local Governance

2.52 The first phase of this project was targeted at 12 municipal clusters (covering over
208 municipalities and villages) throughout Lebanon. Its objective is to increase the impact
of local governance in order to achieve balanced local development at the municipal and
union level. The project was based on a participatory approach in which elected officials
worked in collaboration with civil society on joint projects designed to achieve benefits for
the local populations. All the planned activities of the project have been accomplished,
including: (a) the rehabilitation of the local offices in 12 unions; (b) strengthening
decentralized cooperation between Lebanese and European local governments; (c) training
of municipalities and unions in community participation and strategic planning; (d) provision
of technical assistance for the 12 clusters. The results of these activities have been mixed.
Some of clusters have internalised the benefits of the project approach and continued to
work together in serving their local communities. In other clusters, however, the
municipalities collaborated for the sole purpose of obtain support from the project. In these
cases, they have reverted to acting alone after project support ended.

                                                                                          24
2.53 A second phase of the project started recently in which municipal clusters will receive
grants to fund local development projects which they will manage themselves.
Municipalities have prepared their grant applications and tender documents in readiness for
implementation with the support of the local development agent provided through the
project.

AFKAR

2.54 The AFKAR project aims to reinforce the role and impact of civil society organizations
(CSOs) and citizens with a view to protecting human rights and strengthening the rule of
law. It is designed to strengthen the capacity and professionalism of CSOs through the
provision of grants, follow up activities, training and the promotion of dialogue. Grants are
awarded to CSOs following a competitive selection process in which applications against
agreed criteria by an internal OMSAR committee. The second phase of the project was
recently completed.

2.55 In its final report, the contractor engaged to implement the project activities states
that “all funded projects have respected their calendar and have implemented the vast
majority of their proposed activities.” An independent evaluation carried out on behalf of
the EU in December 2008 concluded that the project had been more effective in delivering
benefits related to: (a) building CSOs’ capacity; (b) taking action to support human rights
and tackling discrimination; (c) promoting dialogue between various communities and
confessions; and (d) raising public awareness. It had been less successful in the following
areas where difficulties still remain, namely: (a) encouraging CSOPs to work together on
common issues; (b) mobilising public opinion: (c) revising and enforcing legislation; (d)
advocacy for new legislation.

2.56 The evaluation also examined the long-term results on Lebanese society and found
that 11 out of 16 CSOs working on the rule of law had either initiated a legislative review or
drafting of new legislation. This represents a significant first step in influencing government
policy. In addition, it concluded that positive results were achieved in initiating dialogue
among different communities and confessions which could in future spur government action
to reform the public service.

2.57 This last statement is particularly significant in the context of this review, especially
as a third phase of the AFKAR project is currently being planned. Whilst the objectives to
date have focused on protecting human rights and strengthening the rule of law, the project
has the potential to increase citizens’ demand for reforming the public administration. One
avenue would be to strengthen the voice of citizens for better public services, which would
bring legitimate pressure to bear on the public administration to enhance its service delivery
capability. It would involve supporting new CSOs, or possibly establishing a new umbrella
organization which brings together business interests, the media and community groups to
achieve a common purpose. Such a development would create synergy with and add
weight to the proposed service delivery initiative described in Chapter IV.

External Factors

2.58 It is difficult to assess OMSAR’s past performance objectively or fairly because there
are many obstacles beyond its control which have directly affected its work. OMSAR has
responded to these obstacles by shifting its work portfolio toward reform interventions (such

                                                                                            25
as work simplification, ICT) which are less likely to encounter such problems. The main
obstacles are summarised below.

Lack of commitment of political leadership

2.59 In Lebanon, administrative reform constitutes a serious threat to politicians whose
ability to exploit the public service to their own advantage has helped to perpetuate their
continuation in power. The lack of political commitment is evident from the large number
of reform proposals which were submitted to government and then ignored. In some cases,
the proposals were not even discussed by the Council of Ministers.

Weak and divided executive authority

2.60 The present Council of Ministers is not capable of taking decisive action, especially on
critical reform issues. Following the constitutional amendments agreed at Taif which ended
the civil war in 1990, the former Presidential powers were transferred to the Council of
Ministers which is composed of 30 members divided on political and religious lines. Taking
decisions has become a very slow and cumbersome process which has seriously weakened
and paralysed executive authority. It is clear therefore that weak governance has
contributed significantly to a failure to implement reforms which challenge special interests
in both the public and private sectors.

No stable political leadership in OMSAR

2.61 Since 1990 when the first Minister of State for Administrative Reform was appointed,
several Cabinets have been formed. This has resulted in the appointment of 11 different
Ministers in less than 20 years with adverse consequences for the continuity of Lebanon’s
reform programme. Often newly appointed Ministers have changed the reform agenda
pursued by their predecessors, in so doing failing to consolidate and build upon previous
efforts. (OMSAR’s lack of authority to play a reform leadership role is discussed in the next
chapter.)

Resistance from the public service

2.62 The public service has often resisted reform to protect its own interests or those of
patron politicians. Regrettably, Lebanon’s political system has helped to promote an alliance
between politicians and civil servants in which the latter serve the interests of the former
rather than the public. In the absence of a strong service ethic within the public service,
politicians have acted as mediators between the bureaucracy and its citizens by facilitating
the provision of services and favours by an inaccessible bureaucracy in return for electoral
support. As part of the bargain, civil servants can count on these same politicians for
support in challenging an unpalatable reform initiative.

Resistance of powerful interest groups

2.63 Some influential private sector interest groups have succeeded in resisting reform to
protect their own interests. One important example is the resistance of business and
financial interests which has discouraged government from tackling widespread tax evasion.




                                                                                           26
Absence of public opinion

2.64 Despite widespread complaints by citizens about the performance of the public
sector, there is no organized lobby or pressure group which can exert pressure to reform.
Worse still, a disillusioned and disinterested public have come to accept the status quo and
lost hope that reform can be accomplished under the present political system.

Lack of qualified public employees

2.65 It is now evident that Lebanon suffers from a shortage of properly qualified staff in
virtually every government agency. This has been caused by the retirement and resignation
of employees in the last 20 years who have not been replaced, as well the emigration of
qualified professionals. Low public service remuneration is a contributory factor. A public
service which lacks qualified personnel will find it very difficult to reform itself.

Lack of predictability of reform resources

2.66 OMSAR has experienced a lack of predictability in external funding because it is
dependent on the project timetables of individual donor agencies. On the one hand,
OMSAR has sometimes enjoyed more donor resources than it has been able to spend
effectively within the timeframes specified in aid agreements. On the other hand, there
have been occasions, most significantly when the EU funded ARLA project ended in 2004,
when OMSAR has not had enough resources to sustain its activities. This has inevitably
resulted in a lack of continuity in administrative reform and modernisation.

Conclusions

2.67 The conclusions and lessons presented in this section should be seen within the
context of the information available for this review. It has proved difficult to provide a
comprehensive or balanced assessment of OMSAR’s performance in the time available for
three main reasons. First, clear reform priorities were never articulated or embraced by
government; second, OMSAR’s plans have tended to evolve over time in response to new
opportunities; and thirdly, documented information is only maintained on accomplishments,
not failures. Further, performance is generally interpreted in terms of outputs because
currently OMSAR does not routinely measure the results or outcomes of its projects or
interventions.

2.68 OMSAR has tried to focus on reform interventions which may be considered of high
priority, although it has tended to select those which are likely to command broad based
support both from the bureaucracy and the political leadership. More controversial and
challenging reforms where high levels of resistance, particularly from the Council of
Ministers, are likely to be encountered have been generally avoided. This is a sensible and
pragmatic decision given that OMSAR has never been granted a clear mandate for
administrative reform from successive governments. It has been deliberately tactical in its
choice of initiatives, making good use of the discretion it enjoys whilst at the same time
recognising the substantial political constraints it faces.

2.69 That said, OMSAR’s approach has been to select projects which are consistent with
one of the four objectives, rather than identifying interventions which together will have the
greatest impact on these objectives. In this respect OMSAR has not attempted to
                                                                                            27
implement a coherent reform programme in which the different components are interrelated
and sequenced over time.

Progress towards reform objectives

2.70 Overall, six years after the launch of the UNDP project, it would be difficult to
conclude whether any progress has been made towards the four original objectives. They
are generally too broad and, in the absence of an agreed set of performance indicators, they
cannot easily be measured. The exception is the objective to reduce the size and cost of
the public administration and, in this case, it is evident that no reductions have been
attempted or achieved. It is doubtful whether much progress, if any, has been made either
to modernise Lebanon’s legislation or to build its management capacity. Some progress has
been made towards the creation of a citizen-orientation administration, although this has
been achieved for a limited number of services in some ministries rather than for the public
administration as a whole. In general, there is much more to be done.

Assessment of reform interventions

2.71 OMSAR has achieved significant successes in ICT and tangible results in work
simplification for the Ministries concerned.8 Many projects have been successfully
completed and handed over to the respective client organization, although no information is
available on how many citizens have benefited or the extent to which the service has been
improved. In contrast, there has been limited, even glacial, progress in most of OMSAR’s
work in organizational restructuring and HR reforms. This is due to a variety of reasons,
including the lack of political support, the very slow pace of legislative change and the lack
of sponsorship within the Civil Service Board. Because of these difficulties, OMSAR has
made a conscious decision to give more attention to supporting organizational change,
which has the potential to deliver quick and visible results, and less to tackling systemic
reforms which affect the entire public administration. Over time, therefore, more effort and
resources have been devoted to process simplification and ICT projects in individual
ministries and agencies.

Client satisfaction

2.72 All stakeholders whom the consultant met expressed their appreciation of and
satisfaction with the support and advice provided by OMSAR. They were also able to
describe concrete benefits which had resulted from OMSAR’s support. These included the
Ministry of Economy, the Civil Service Board, the Central Inspection, the National Social
Security Fund and the National Employment Agency. Clearly, public institutions value the
expertise which OMSAR is able to mobilise, as well as the ICT equipment which is often part
of the package of support. Indeed, it seems likely that the financial resources controlled
by OMSAR helps to secure the client’s cooperation.

2.73 OMSAR is also seen as playing an indispensible role in the field of administrative
reform and E-government. This was not always the case. It has taken time for OMSAR to
demonstrate its competence and instil confidence among its many clients. It is understood


8
  Success is defined in terms of completed projects which are being operated and maintained by the
respective clients in the absence of evidence of actual results for clients.

                                                                                                 28
that this shift of opinion occurred around 2003/04. It has acquired a deserved reputation
for excellence in a number of fields.

Lessons

2.74 All administrative reform efforts will have failures as well as successes. In fact, the
experience in developing and middle income countries is that there are usually more failures
than successes. The purpose of this review is not so much to judge OMSAR’s performance,
rather to identify the lessons from this experience and to see how they can be applied to
future reform programmes. Some of the key lessons are as follow:-

      External factors. OMSAR is a change agent which ultimately can only be effective to
       the extent that there is a favourable environment for reform. Where reforms have
       failed, it is usually due to factors beyond OMSAR’s control. The most important of
       these are the absence of political support, the lack of high level sponsorship within
       central agencies and ministries, and the painfully slow pace of legislative change;

      Weak political support. Systemic reforms will always require political support and
       direction since bureaucracies are unable to reform themselves. Yet in Lebanon it is
       difficult to envisage how this direction will be forthcoming given the present levels of
       political interference in the bureaucracy, which has created a vested interest in the
       status quo among the political establishment;

      Tackling difficult problems. The political environment – instability, fragile
       governments, sectarian conflict – can make meaningful reform seem like an
       insurmountable challenge. The solution is not to seek out attractive projects where
       no resistance is likely to be encountered, rather to tackle the difficult problems
       through a process of dialogue to identify the practical possibilities for change;

      Legislative bottlenecks. Having a legalistic administration such as Lebanon’s will
       inevitably retard reform implementation. The challenge is to find ways to strengthen
       the policy formulation process and tackle the bottlenecks within the system;

      Optional reform. Particular reform interventions have been encouraged through
       Cabinet decisions but they have always been seen as optional for individual
       ministries. The reality, however, is that those ministries which need change most
       are those least likely to request it. Meaningful change will necessitate an element of
       compulsion collectively supported by the Council of Ministers;

      Collaboration with Research and Guidance. Building an effective working relationship
       with the Research and Guidance Service of CSB has been essential for most of the
       reform interventions that OMSAR has initiated. OMSAR has the expertise to create
       the change, but it is reliant upon the legal authority of the CSB to endorse the
       changes that are proposed;

      Team work. A team approach, drawing upon the expertise of TCU and IDU, has
       proved to be necessary for all projects which aim to improve services for citizens.
       This is because successful automation will require changes in work processes and a
       rethinking of organizational roles and responsibilities;


                                                                                            29
      Change management. Successful projects depend on effective change management
       as well as the provision of the right technical expertise. Part of this is good project
       management, but more important OMSAR’s team leaders have learned the
       importance of gaining the support of a senior sponsor in the client organizations,
       working closely with the affected staff and taking the time to develop personal
       relationships;

      HR reforms. Reforms in human resource management have proven to be the most
       intractable for a number of reasons. Yet they are a necessary condition for both the
       success and sustainability of other reforms, notably process changes and ICT
       solutions. Therefore, ways must be found to address them. They are not an
       optional extra.

2.75 Looking forward, one further strategic lesson must be drawn. Whilst successes can
be applauded and failures attributed largely to external factors, the fact remains that if
Lebanon is to make any progress in addressing the systemic problems facing the civil service
today the government must strengthen its reform machinery, a subject which is examined in
the next chapter.




                                                                                             30
III     ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT

Role and functions

3.1     OMSAR’s de facto role is best inferred from its current work. Essentially it provides
technical assistance (in house or contracted), financial resources and project management
services to reform and modernise the public administration. It does this by initiating and
selecting project interventions with ministries and agencies, carrying out the necessary
design work and then either handing over a “deliverable” to the responsible ministry for
implementation or engaging a contractor to handle implementation. The “deliverable” may
be a draft law or a simplified business process for instance. Where a contractor is hired, as
is the case for ICT projects, OMSAR will supervise the work until the work is completed and
accepted by the ministry.

3.2    Generally, OMSAR has endeavoured to be responsive to the particular priorities that
are perceived by individual ministries and agencies within the parameters of the expertise it
possesses. For the first Arab Fund loan, OMSAR invited ICT project applications from a
number of ministries and agencies which were assessed against predetermined criteria
before funding decisions were made. OMSAR intends to repeat this practice for the new
Arab Fund loan and the Minister of State has convened a meeting with ministries to request
proposals. This approach has been well received and one stakeholder has commented that
it marks a departure from previous practice where OMSAR tried to impose particular projects
on ministries.

3.3    Based on the work it performs, OMSAR acts predominantly as an “executing
agency”9 for specific administrative reform projects. Execution means being responsible for
implementation without necessarily being directly involved because the work may be
contracted out to a third party. It is concept associated with stand alone project
implementation units which were common in developing countries until recently. In many
ways OMSAR functions as an internal consultancy service for government although, unlike
consultancy, it also provides resources for equipment and operating costs. These resources
can be used to leverage particular reform projects and to select them competitively as was
done for the first Arab Fund loan. Similar approaches have been tried in reform
programmes elsewhere under the guise of a “performance improvement fund” or “challenge
fund.”

3.4    OMSAR’s core functions are to provide technical assistance and, where appropriate,
finance to ministries, agencies and public institutions. These are not the only possible
functions for a public administration reform agency. Indeed the model of an “execution
agency” which provides technical assistance and resources for reform interventions is an
unusual one nowadays. In the past, developing countries in Africa employed a similar
model of concentrating all the technical expertise for reform in a separate entity, albeit on a
much smaller scale. Such reform units have long since been abandoned for two main
reasons: firstly, they tended to create reform enclaves divorced from the ministries and
agencies which were responsible for implementing reforms; and secondly, they undermined


9
  However, the term “executing agency” should not be confused with executive authority which OMSAR presently
lacks.

                                                                                                         31
capacity in the public administration as a whole by trying to replicate expertise which should
have belonged to central agencies (such as a central personnel agency.)

3.5     To support its predominant role as an “executing agency,” OMSAR also conducts
research on international “best practice” to inform the design of the reform initiatives it
undertakes. It also makes an effort to coordinate related project activities (e.g. within the
E-government plan) but, since there is no government owned reform programme, it lacks
the authority to coordinate on a cross-programme or cross-ministry basis. It has also made
efforts to champion and promote reform through the development of strategy documents
for administrative reform and E-government, and facilitating reform throughout the public
administration. However, it is acknowledged that this function is not fully developed.

Relationships with other agencies

3.6     OMSAR’s consulting services specialise in organization design, human resource
management, work process simplification and ICT, which is supported by relevant training.
These services overlap legally with the activities of the Research and Guidance Service of
the Civil Service Board and the National Training Agency (ENA.) The Research and
Guidance Service, formerly attached to the Central Inspection, has a mandate to research
methods and procedures which promote the performance and efficiency of ministries and
agencies. In particular, it has the authority to amend proposals for administrative
organization and simplification of work methods which overlaps with OMSAR’s work.

3.7     ENA is an autonomous public institution with a mandate to provide in-service training
and preparation for ministries, agencies, public institutions and municipalities although it is
not currently performing this role because government is not providing it with the necessary
professional staffs or resources. OMSAR recently established a dedicated training team to
manage and coordinate all of OMSAR’s training interventions. And the Minister of State has
also given it the task of carrying out a needs analysis in order to prepare a comprehensive
training plan for the entire public administration. These tasks seem to fall within the
mandate of ENA.

3.8      OMSAR’s work has always overlapped with the work of Research and Guidance and
now it appears to be duplicating the work of ENA. In practice, this does not appear to be a
problem because OMSAR works in close collaboration with Research and Guidance and ENA
rather than adopting parallel initiatives. Because OMSAR brings skills and resources that
CSB and ENA currently lack, the cooperation is generally welcomed. However, an argument
can be made that OMSAR is simply compensating for low capacity in these agencies and
that the best long-term solution would be to ensure they have adequate capacity to perform
their mandates. It seems sensible therefore for OMSAR to continue providing this type of
support in the short-term provided it is designed as interventions to build capability in these
two agencies. More specifically, OMSAR should collaborate with ENA in all its training
activities to prepare the ground for the transferring this responsibility to the latter in the
medium- to long-term.




                                                                                            32
Organization structure

Institutional issues

3.9     OMSAR is headed by a Minister of State without a Ministry. Its functions and
structure are based upon a decision of the Minister in 2006.10 The structure of OMSAR
comprises the Minister’s Secretariat, the Legal Adviser, the Institutional Development Unit
(IDU), the Technical Cooperation Unit (TCU), the Administration Unit and work teams
responsible for donor funded projects. Its operations are largely financed by donors,
although government provides a significant budget for staff costs (the salaries of
government employees on contract and a contribution to the salary costs of UNDP
contractors) and operating costs. Over the last two years, OMSAR’s average annual
expenditure was US$ 9.8 million, of which US$ 7.6 million (78%) was donor funded and US$
2.2 million (22%) government financed.

3.10 In 2004, following a request from the Council of Ministers, OMSAR prepared a draft
law to transform itself into a fully fledged Ministry of Administrative Reform that was
believed would give it more teeth. It proposed that the Research and Guidance Service of
the Civil Service Board would be transferred to the new Ministry. However, the draft was not
adopted by the Council of Ministers who considered that the Civil Service Board (including
Research and Guidance) and the Central Inspection should be merged. It was also believed
that the proposed law would create a conflict with the CSB.

3.11 Any reform agency must have the power to create change in ministries and agencies.
OMSAR’s power is currently derived from both its technical expertise and its access to
(donor) resources that it is able to deploy to ministries and agencies. It has relied upon
expertise to persuade its clients to accept its solutions and it has sometimes employed its
resource power as a bargaining tool. These are both legitimate methods of influence but
they are only likely to be effective to the extent that their clients are willing to create change
or they need resources to do so. This will typically not be the case for much of
administrative reform where the organizations and people targeted will legitimately resist
change for a number of reasons. In such cases, a reform agency needs additional power
which is derived from its position within the machinery of government, for example as a
central agency, or from an explicit political mandate.

Internal management structures

3.12 The current organization structure of OMSAR reflects the structure established by the
Minister of State in 2006, which incorporates the structural features created through
successive donor projects. There is no overall manager to coordinate the diverse activities
of OMSAR, a task which must therefore be undertaken by the Minister of State. The two
main operational units are the Technical Cooperation Unit (TCU) and the Institutional
Development Unit (IDU), each headed by a Director. The functions of the two units were
originally specified in the UNDP project document of 2002 but these have since evolved.
Figure 5 overleaf sets out the responsibilities defined in the Minister’s decision of 2006.



10
     Ministries must have their functions and structures approved by the Council of Ministers.

                                                                                                 33
                              Figure 5: Functions of IDU and TCU

IDU Functions                         TCU Functions

- Proposing plans and projects        - Developing strategies for the automation of public
for public administration             administrations and institutions, in addition to developing
development and institutional         plans and programs for implementation of IT capacity-
capacity building along with          building in public administration leading to the concept of
supervising their implementation      e-government
after approval of the concerned
authorities                           - Defining technical specifications for information
                                      technology projects, making the necessary technical
- Developing human resources,         assessment, in addition to providing IT advice to all
and assisting public                  public institutions and administrations and conducting
administrations, institutions and     technical studies upon request
municipalities in updating their
legislation and structures,           - Preparing TORs, assessing tenders and managing the
simplifying their procedures,         procurement process in addition to managing all projects'
raising their officials’ efficiency   contracts funded by donors
and their job descriptions and        - Supervising the implementation of donor-funded
classification as well as             projects and the initial and final acceptance
establishing the concept of good
governance.                           - Coordinating with donors and public administrations in
                                      all project plans and programs funded by donors’ loans
- Preparing studies and draft         or grants, and reporting quarterly on these projects'
laws and regulations required for     progress as well as working with them to obtain new
the process of institutional          donations
capacity building
                                      - Conducting financial auditing and accounting on
- Compiling and sorting studies       programs and projects funded by international and
and reports on public                 regional donors as well as allocating the UNDP project
administration’s affairs and          budget and managing the government's share in these
activities                            projects

                                      - Managing and updating the content of the one-Stop-
                                      Shop site for information and administrative
                                      transactions (Informs) and answering citizens’ questions
                                      about these information and transactions on the digital
                                      line 1700

                                      - Providing technical support through a specialized
                                      team for all public administrations and institutions and
                                      in particular distributing and upgrading software
                                      licenses



                                                                                                 34
3.13 The IDU is comprised of a policy analysis team and a training team. The TCU is
divided into four teams: a finance, communications and logistics team; a procurement team;
an Information Technology and Communications (ICT) team; and the Central office for
Administrative Information (INFORMS.) Most of the teams have a dedicated team leader;
the exception is the ICT team. The majority of staffs are deployed in these two units. In
addition to the IDU and the TCU, the Senior Legal Adviser, the Senior Administrative Officer
and three project coordinators for EU funded projects report directly to the Minister. In the
case of the coordinator for Solid Waste Management, this is a requirement stipulated in the
financing agreement. The three EU projects – Solid Waste Management, AFKAR and Local
Governance Improvement – which are only remotely related to the administrative reform
mandate of OMSAR were proposed by the EU because their earlier reform projects were
perceived to be progressing too slowly.

3.14 The structure of OMSAR is relatively flat with no long hierarchies. Professional staffs
located in IDU and TCU are formally assigned to disciplinary groups based on their skills and
experience, but the different disciplines are often brought together to work in project teams
where necessary. This is usually done informally at the initiative of the team leaders and
ICT project managers, but it is becoming increasingly formalised with the new project
management arrangements for the second Arab Fund loan. Matrix management will be the
dominant organizational form if OMSAR continues with its current project based operations.

3.15 However, in the view of the consultant, the present organization structure will need
to be realigned with its proposed new role which is discussed in the next chapter. It was
not possible to conduct a thorough diagnosis of the current structure within the timeframe
of this assignment, but the following key issues were identified:-

         There is no single manager (a Director-General) responsible for all OMSAR’s
          activities reporting to the Minister, which is essential in an organization of this size
          and complexity. In this context, it is understood that the position of Director-
          General can only be established in a Ministry;

         The TCU is a very large unit which combines many diverse activities (both
          operational and support) whereas the IDU is relatively small and contains
          operational functions only. There is case therefore for re-thinking the horizontal
          allocation of functions to improve coordination and balance managerial workloads;

         There is no professional human resource manager within the organization; and

         Having three separate EU project managers who report directly to the Minister is
          untenable. It currently deprives the TCU Director of the information he needs to
          manage the provision of support services for the full range of OMSAR’s activities.

Staff capacity & utilisation

3.16 OMSAR has a total staff complement of 84, of which 31 (37%) are contracted by
UNDP and 53 (73%) are engaged by the GoL. Many of these employees have the job title
of “policy analyst” although this is a misnomer since there is little policy analysis that is
carried out. All of the UNDP contractors fill managerial or professional positions and possess
a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and an average of 10 years of relevant experience. GoL
employees comprise mostly junior professional and support staffs. 18 (34%) of these

                                                                                               35
possess at least a bachelors degree with an average of six years of relevant experience.
More than half of OMSAR’s employees therefore have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

3.17 Whilst OMSAR has been able to maintain a highly qualified and experienced
workforce, its ability to retain these employees depends crucially on continuity in funding by
donor agencies for salaries. In this context, it is understood that a number of experienced
professional staffs were laid off when the EU funded ARLA project expired. Another factor is
the lack of security of tenure. For the UNDP contractors this is compensated to some
extent by attractive terms and conditions. For those staffs engaged by government, the
package is less attractive and many are understood to be actively seeking more permanent
jobs with benefits.

3.18 It is impossible to conclude whether OMSAR staffs are currently well utilised because
no records are maintained on how their time is spent. However, OMSAR has started to plan
the deployment of staff to projects more rigorously. For example, the ICT team has
constructed workload maps where staffs are assigned to specific work objectives. Further
systematisation is gradually being introduced through the new project management system
that OMSAR has adopted to plan for the new Arab Fund loan. Each project is assigned a
project team with clearly defined responsibilities and each member is informed of the work
activity required for each phase of the project.

Management processes

Programme management

3.19 Since 2002, OMSAR has pursued project activities under four broad programmes
which correspond to the four original objectives in the 2002 UNDP project document.
However, it has not managed reform interventions at the programme level. No programme
budget has been established and, with the exception of the current EU project, expenditures
are reported against line items defined by the Arab Fund. More important, projects are
initiated from the bottom-up and assigned to one of the four programmes, rather than the
selection of projects being dictated by the specific objectives of a particular programme.
This reverses the conventional logic of linking programmes to projects.

3.20 The absence of effective programme management reflects in part the differing
requirements of donors which OMSAR has chosen to accommodate. For instance, the new
Arab Fund loan has introduced a different set of objectives from those agreed with UNDP
which OMSAR has attempted to reconcile in the form of a matrix. Ideally, there should be a
single set of objectives reflecting government’s reform programme to which donor projects
should be aligned. However, the main reason for the lack of programme management is a
legitimate decision by OMSAR’s management to pursue an opportunistic approach to reform,
which involves the identification of suitable projects in ministries and agencies. Reform
interventions therefore tend to be driven more by the immediate needs of individual
ministries rather the requirements of the public administration as a whole.

3.21 However, OMSAR is placing more emphasis on programme management in the
planning which is underway for the new Arab Fund loan. The number of objectives has
been collapsed from four to three with the original objective to reduce the size and cost of
the public administration being subsumed under the third objective which is to “review and
update essential legal texts and organizational structures of public sector organizations.” A
new programme template has been introduced which sets out the objectives, outcomes, key
                                                                                           36
risks, milestones and key performance indicators/targets for each programmes. The
intention is to use the key performance targets to identify particular projects. This template
is helpful although the “outcomes” do not capture the specific changes desired for the public
administration. And milestones, from which KPIs are derived, have not been identified
systematically based on the development of a high level programme plan. If a
programmatic approach is to be adopted, a hierarchy of objectives needs to be constructed
starting with the definition of programme outcomes, linking these to milestones and then to
specific project outputs and interventions.

Project management

3.22 OMSAR has paid more attention to its project management disciplines, although it
has not prepared annual work plans (for all projects) on a regular basis to provide a
benchmark against which to measure progress. This issue is now being addressed. Over
the last three months, OMSAR has started to strengthen project management through the
development and application of its “ProCycle” project management software to the new
Arab Fund loan. “ProCycle” covers the entire project cycle from project identification
through to project implementation and closure. Its main features include: (a) work plans for
each donor with a set of pre-defined projects; (b) the assignment of projects to a project
team and the allocation of tasks to individual team members; (c) the establishment of
project milestones; and (d) regular reporting during the lifetime of the project. The new
system will facilitate work planning, workload management and progress control. However,
it needs to be emphasized that good project management is a necessary but not sufficient
condition for the successful implementation of reform initiatives as discussed in the next
section.

Operating processes

3.23 OMSAR has prepared sound standard operating procedures to guide the provision of
technical assistance in the areas of work simplification, organizational restructuring and ICT.
However, it lacks a procedures manual covering all its operations. Such procedures are
critical to assure the technical quality of the work undertaken and to guide consultations
with both the client and the Research and Guidance Service. However, they have been
developed from a disciplinary perspective and it would be useful for team leaders to jointly
develop operating procedures that govern relevant multi-disciplinary interventions with a
view to improving synergy and enhancing benefits for the client.

3.24 One of the lessons in Chapter II was that effective change management is essential
for project success because reform and modernisation inevitably affects people in the
organization. Team leaders have developed and refined their own approaches to handling
change in client organizations based on their own experience. Yet OMSAR lacks a corporate
approach to change management which will be essential if OMSAR is to move towards the
model of reform “leader” described in Chapter IV.11   This may have been neglected
because implementation is often seen as the responsibility of the ministry or a contractor,
even though change management should start when an assignment is initiated. It would
be useful for OMSAR’s team leaders to pool and share their knowledge in order to develop a
set of guidelines for change management.

11
   Change management involves a range of related activities including: building sponsorship and the change
team, developing objectives and strategies for change, managing stakeholder relationships, handling resistance
and carrying out communications.

                                                                                                            37
Communications

3.25 Communications is an essential activity for any public administration reform
programme which would typically be carried out by the responsible reform unit. It is often
neglected and under-funded in reform units elsewhere. Historically OMSAR has publicised
its successes and activities using a variety of channels, including television, the OMSAR
website, the annual report, an E-newsletter, brochures and posters. The main emphasis has
been on one-way communication intended to disseminate information and create
awareness, although participative workshops have also been organized to discuss key
reform issues.

3.26 However, in the absence of a guiding strategy, communications activities are taking
place in an ad hoc fashion as the need arises. OMSAR’s communications strategy should
define the overall objectives, identify target audiences, determine their preferred
messengers and channels of communication, and craft some key messages. Selecting the
right objectives is a critical task because appropriate communications can be used to
address anxiety, tackle resistance and encourage participation, as well as simply conveying
information. In recognition of the need, the Communications and Logistics Officer has
developed a helpful initial draft of a communications strategy. Management has yet to take
action on this paper. Now OMSAR urgently needs to develop an appropriate
communications strategy by enlisting the services of an experienced communications
specialist. This strategy will need to be tailored to the particular role which OMSAR
envisages for itself as a reform entity.




                                                                                        38
IV       OPTIONS FOR CHANGE

Reform options for OMSAR

4.1     This chapter presents some reform options (both process and substance) which
could potentially improve the impact of OMSAR as a public administration reform agency.
OMSAR cannot continue to operate exclusively on the basis of negotiating organizational
development projects interventions with individual ministries underpinned by agreements
with individual donors. These will not result in sustainable change unless the systemic
problems are tackled. The ideas contained here are not firm reform proposals for
government, although they could be considered as part of a legitimate process to develop a
new reform programme. They include suggestions on process as well as substance,
because some of the obstacles to reform must be addressed if there is to be any progress
on the substance.

4.2     In view of the limited progress in addressing the systemic problems in the last 40
years, an unconventional approach must be found to achieve a breakthrough. It needs to
be accepted, however, that reform will inevitably be modest and incremental in view of the
sectarian divisions which have the power to block change at both the political and
bureaucratic levels. Deriving OMSAR’s work programme from a comprehensive long-term
reform strategy, for instance by updating the 2001 administrative reform strategy, would
therefore be inappropriate.

4.3     Instead, it is suggested that OMSAR should take a lead from a government owned
plan of action for the next three years broadly corresponding to the lifetime of the incoming
government, which would build on its existing work and include some new interventions.
This should not be a rigid or rational plan decided solely by experts, rather there should be
some details at the outset where work could start immediately and others would be filled in
gradually as issues are discussed and a way forward agreed. Each new proposal would
need to be submitted separately to the Council of Ministers for endorsement. New initiatives
would be chosen on the basis of their potential impact on the performance of the public
administration as a whole and formulated as an issue to be addressed (for instance, how
can the legislative burden on the CoM be reduced? How can public accountability be
strengthened?) Such an approach would not pre-empt the final solution, rather it would
allow a workable solution to emerge through a process of dialogue with key stakeholders.
This process could and should be orchestrated by OMSAR and it will need to acquire basic
competencies in influencing other people, as follow:-

        Diagnosis: understanding and interpreting the issue to be influenced and the
         stakeholders who are affected;
        Adapting: changing behaviour depending on the interests, willingness and capability
         of the different stakeholders; and
        Communicating: putting across messages in a way that they can be readily
         understood and accepted.

4.4    It would be inappropriate to be prescriptive regarding future reform priorities in the
absence of more in depth discussions with OMSAR and other stakeholders. Nonetheless,
consistent with the overall approach outlined above, a number of specific options and ideas
are proposed to assist OMSAR to strengthen its overall effectiveness. It should be stressed

                                                                                           39
that this does not mean that OMSAR’s existing activities should be abandoned but that there
should be a shift in emphasis. OMSAR should consider:-

Process

      Focus. Avoid distributing a wide range of project interventions among a number of
       individual ministries and projects. There should be a sharper focus on a few key
       priorities which have the potential for wider application across the public
       administration (see the section on substance below);

      Realistic objectives. Reduce the level of ambition envisaged in the “outputs” of the
       new 2008 UNDP project document, (e.g. administrative decentralization, human
       resource management system updated) because these are not consistent with the
       modest and incremental approach;

      Evolutionary approach. Proceed with interventions in small steps, create visible
       benefits, learn from the experience and gradually build the accumulated steps into
       larger programmes. The end point may not be foreseen in advance. Pilot projects
       are an ideal instrument for pursuing this approach;

      Constituencies for reform. Forge alliances with key constituents to create a critical
       mass of sponsors to enable particular issues to proceed. These stakeholders will
       include the Prime Minister, the President, the Speaker of the House, central
       agencies, and key line ministries, depending on the issue to be addressed;

      Strengthened reform machinery. Create the appropriate reform machinery to
       catalyse and facilitate reform across the public service. A reform unit cannot (and
       should not attempt) to execute reform on its own, but it can play an essential
       change agent function provided there is sufficient sponsorship (both political and
       managerial) in the right places in the administration.

Substance

      Service Delivery Improvement. Develop a coherent service delivery improvement
       programme for the public administration which builds upon OMSAR’s experiences of
       work simplification, ICT, INFORMS, Citizen’s Charters and organization design.
       Support interventions should be driven by the needs of the citizen and client,
       independently of the specific skills of OMSAR professionals or the preferences of the
       provider. To embed this approach OMSAR could promote or implement a national
       “client voice” initiative in which the levels of satisfaction and needs of citizens
       regarding public services are solicited. The AFKAR project could in future play a key
       role in mobilising interested NGOs to promote the voice of citizens with a view to
       holding public service providers to account. It could also monitor the service
       standards which should be incorporated in Citizen’s Charters;

      Challenge Fund. To support the Service Delivery Improvement Initiative, it might
       also consider establishing a challenge fund to allocate technical assistance and
       resources on a competitive basis to ministries who make a commitment to tackling a
       difficult service delivery issue which has the potential to benefit many citizens.
       “Hurdles” or access criteria could be used to restrict applications to ministries who

                                                                                               40
         have formally demonstrated their commitment through a prior action, (e.g. the
         implementation of a work simplification project, the development of a strategic plan);

        Significant systemic issues. Ideally, systemic issues should be addressed in an
         integrated and sequenced fashion but, as stated above, this is not a realistic option
         in Lebanon at the present time. Accordingly, the following challenges are suggested
         as a potential menu of high priority issues from which an emergent reform
         programme may be constructed:-

         -    Management capability. Build management capability in the public administration
              through improved processes of selection, development and reward. This is a
              pre-condition for a public administration to reform itself and can be started for
              the most senior positions in a few key ministries and central agencies;

         -    Public sector institutional architecture. Re-think the institutional architecture
              (ministries, agencies, public institutions) of the public sector in a phased manner.
              The work could proceed sector by sector, examining the governance and
              autonomy of agencies and their relationships with ministries and the Prime
              Minister’s Office. An appropriate but challenging starting point would be the
              central agencies (e.g. Civil Service Board12, Central Inspection), as this could
              potentially help to resolve the future role and status of OMSAR. Issues of
              decentralization and, more important, de-concentration of authority which is
              critical for work simplification, should also be considered as part of this
              intervention. However, in the short-term, it is recognised that OMSAR will
              continue to receive restructuring requests from individual ministries. These cases
              should be seen as opportunities to highlight the broader policy implications (e.g.
              the relationships between a ministry and agencies) which can be applied more
              widely throughout the administration. In practice, OMSAR is likely to adopt a
              mixed approach to restructuring, navigating between a bottom up responsive
              approach and a top down “helicopter” view of the entire administration;

         -    Management processes in ministries. Strengthen one or two key management
              processes (e.g. decision making, coordination, developing competencies,
              measuring results) which could potentially make a significant impact on the
              efficiency and effectiveness of public sector organizations. This is likely to be a
              faster and more productive approach than attempting to change the formal
              organization structures which often have little impact on the way a ministry
              functions;

         -    Government policy process. Enhance the government’s policy formulation and
              implementation process with a view to speeding up the process by which new
              policies are converted into legislation, approved by the executive and finally
              enacted by Parliament. This will be an intricate and sensitive issue because it
              touches upon the relationship between the administration and the political
              leadership, but addressing it does have the potential to reduce significantly the

12
   There is a strong case for dividing the functions of the Civil Service Board into two distinct entities. The HR
policy function could sit in a government department which is accountable to a Minister (possibly the Prime
Minister.) And the regulatory function, to ensure that appointments are made on merit without political
interference, could be a separate independent agency whose key officials have protected tenure.

                                                                                                                     41
             current burden on the latter. In addition, by removing the legislative blockages,
             improving the policy process will have a direct and immediate impact on the pace
             at which administrative reform can be implemented;

        -    Public accountability and responsiveness. Build public accountability in the
             bureaucracy, both upwards to the executive and outwards to clients and citizens,
             and moving gradually towards a culture of results, whilst retaining a tight control
             on the key processes. The new strategic planning initiative may be a good
             opportunity to strengthen accountability for results, provided ministries are not
             locked into endless cycles of detailed planning. However, it is likely to have a
             much greater impact in three years time when the Ministry of Finance has
             introduced a medium-term budget which links resources to results; and

        -    Human Resource Management. Modernise human resource policies and
             regulations (laws, procedures) on an incremental basis and build capacity in CSB.
             A start could be made by identifying one or two processes which are important
             but not politically sensitive, such as training, human resource planning or
             performance management, and tackling the more difficult issues of employee
             selection (including de-politicisation), staff productivity, promotion and reward in
             a second phase.

4.5     It is emphasized that OMSAR does not necessarily need to have in-house technical
expertise to address any of these systemic issues, as is explained in the next section,
although it should have a broad understanding and experience of the problems.        Expertise
may be better attached to the ministry or agency which is (or should be) sponsoring the
particular change (e.g. the Civil Service Board for human resource management reform.)

Empowering OMSAR

Models of reform agency

4.6    First, the future role of OMSAR is examined which will influence where it is best
located within the machinery of government. The dominant role of OMSAR as an
executing agency for public administration reform was described in Chapter III. This is
what may be described as a “hands-on” style of operation, which contrasts with more
“hands-off” styles which are illustrated in Figure 5 overleaf. This figure shows possible
models of reform units which are differentiated according to their core functions. The
models have been developed for illustrative purposes: in practice, most reform agencies are
hybrids exercising the core functions of more than one model. OMSAR is practising the
“coordinator” and “leader” roles to some extent, but not the “think tank” role which requires
independence from government.

4.7     The executing agency model emerged when OMSAR started to receive significant
resources from donor agencies. In practice it was viewed by donors as a conventional
“project implementation unit.” Originally, however, it was set up as a coordinating unit with
a handful of staffs assisting the Minister. The coordination role is one performed by all
public administration reform units which oversee and manage the government’s reform
programme.13 It confers the right to monitor progress and impact across the administration,

13
  This is distinct from the management of particular interventions within the programme, a function which is
normally carried out by the responsible ministry or agency (e.g. Ministry of Finance for budgetary reform.)

                                                                                                               42
which is a potentially legitimate function today. But it cannot be exercised in the short-term
because currently the GoL does not have an agreed reform programme and it will take time
for a coherent programme to evolve if the issue based approach suggested above is
adopted. Accordingly, the role is likely to become more important in the medium-term,
although there is a case today for carrying out a systematic evaluation of the impact of
reform initiatives carried out (say) over the previous five years.

                                Figure 5: Reform Unit Models

Role                  Think tank        Coordinator            Leader           Executing
                          (1)               (2)                  (3)             agency
                                                                                   (4)

Core functions        Research &        Programme           Champion &          Technical
                       Advice to       management &          Facilitate        assistance &
                      government         oversight                               finance

Organizational       Independent        Management          Government        Agency, public
Form                  commission           unit or          department        corporation or
                                         Secretariat                         private company



4.8     The think tank model was the approach used by the reforming government of
President Chehab in 1959, although he took advice from a temporary not a permanent
group of experts who were constituted into a high level committee. The modern day
equivalent is a permanent reform commission which is established as an independent body
in order to give impartial advice to government. This model can work when the
government is receptive to advice, as was President Chehab’s administration, but it is likely
to be ignored and marginalised when there is limited political commitment to reform as is
the case in Lebanon today. It should be emphasized that a “think tank” must be
independent of government, which is why it cannot be combined with either the
“coordinator” or “leader” role both of which require it to be part of the administration
accountable to a Minister.

4.9     This leaves the “leader” model which is arguably the most appropriate choice for
OMSAR today. It involves advocacy, persuasion, facilitation, building capacity and
addressing resistance, but leaving the day to day execution of reform initiatives to others.
Taking the example of OMSAR’s client-oriented services, it would involve developing and
championing a service improvement programme for the whole administration, and designing
and maintaining appropriate methodologies or toolkits to be employed by ministries and
agencies. It would not provide technical assistance or project management services for
specific projects which could be contracted out or channelled through a Challenge Fund (see
above.) Adopting the facilitation approach would enable OMSAR to be effective on a much
larger scale than at present. It is also the model most suited to Lebanon’s political
environment because successful reform will require OMSAR to engage in dialogue, build
coalitions with key stakeholders and secure support for reform.

4.10 However, as stated earlier, it is not a simple choice between one model and another:
in practice OMSAR should adopt a hybrid model which is centred on the “leader” model. It
will need to transition towards the desired model over time. The “coordinator” model will
                                                                                            43
emerge in due course as a coherent reform programme evolves which can be monitored and
overseen. The executing agency model should not be abandoned overnight. It is a role
which has served OMSAR well and has enabled it to build a reputation for excellence in key
facets of administrative reform and modernisation. Even so, it could move towards the
adoption of strategic pilots which can in time be developed into larger programmes.

4.11 Under the hybrid model envisaged, OMSAR would have the following main
responsibilities, namely to:-

        Develop a government plan for administrative reform, obtain resources, secure
         approval, monitor and report progress, and take corrective action;14
        Act as the Secretariat for a high level Committee for Administrative Reform;
        Coordinate administrative reform with related reforms in financial management and
         budget reform;
        Champion reform and secure the support of political leaders and senior managers in
         the public administration;
        Facilitate the implementation of reforms in ministries by developing appropriate
         methodologies and tools, promoting good practice, developing skills and providing
         support;15
        Provide technical assistance, equipment and resources on a competitive basis to
         leverage particular reforms at ministry level;16
        Manage all reform communications, consultative processes and dialogue on key
         issues;
        Prepare policy proposals for new reform initiatives based on relevant research; and
        Assess the results and impact of reform initiatives through periodic evaluations.

Institutional location and status

4.12 The choice of model has implications for the institutional location of OMSAR, as well
as its internal management structures. It is assumed in this section that a hybrid model
combining the “leader” and “coordinator” models will be adopted in future. If OMSAR
chooses to continue with the present “executing agency” model without embracing other
models more fully, then its present institutional status will serve it well. Four options for
establishing a permanent (or semi-permanent) reform agency are proposed in Figure 6 with
the present situation as the first option.17 Based on the balance of advantages and
disadvantages, there appears to be no one best solution at the present time. One reason is
that weaknesses in the institutional structures at the centre of government reduce the
practicality of the two most common solutions adopted other countries, namely options 3
and 4 as we discuss below.




14
    This is the programme management function. Responsibility for project management should be devolved to
ministries and agencies.
15
   This applies to the proposed Service Delivery Improvement Programme and specific initiative such as strategic
planning where there is no ministry or agency which has the responsibility.
16
   This represents the management of the challenge fund referred to earlier in this chapter.
17
   The Reform Commission has not been included as an option because such bodies are temporary in nature.

                                                                                                             44
                                             Figure 6: Institutional Options for an Administrative Reform Body

Option              Office of Minister           Ministry of Administrative             Central Agency in Prime              Ministry of Public Service
                         of State                         Reform                           Minister’s Office                             (4)
                             (1)                             (2)                                  (3)

Other country   None                             No developed country                UK, Moldova, Nigeria                  France, Trinidad & Tobago,
examples                                         Jordan, Egypt                                                             Uganda, Tanzania

Advantages      Operational autonomy            Greater voice in Council of        Greater influence because             Natural home for organizational
                                                 Ministers                           authority derived from PM             and HRM reforms
                Nucleus of committed and                                        
                experienced professional        Acceptance by other                Acceptance by other government        Greater voice in Council of
                                                 government agencies                 agencies                              Ministers
                                                                                 
                                                                                    May attract greater political         Acceptance by other government
                                                                                     support                               agencies
                                                                                 
                                                                                    Potential for autonomy in financial
                                                                                     and personnel management
Disadvantages   No legal mandate                 No legitimate authority over       Requires legislation                  May lack authority to coordinate
                                                 other ministries                                                         other reforms
                No formal authority or                                              May not attract attention of PM
                influence                        Requires legislation                because he oversees many              Requires prior restructuring of
                                                                                     agencies                              Civil Service Board
                High turnover of Ministers       Influence dependent on the 
                                                 personal power of the Minister
                                                                                    PM has less authority than other      Present culture and capabilities
                Subject to undue donor                                               jurisdictions                         of CSB unsuited to reform task
                influence                        Lack of autonomy in financial
                                                 and personnel management                                                  Reform may be subordinated to
                                                                                                                           operational tasks
                                                High turnover of Ministers

                                                 More difficult to retain
                                                 qualified professional staff

                                                                                                                                                              45
4.13 The “leader” model clearly involves a significant amount of policy content.
Therefore, were OMSAR to adopt this model, it should be constituted as a government
ministry or agency accountable to a Minister (or the Prime Minister.) It should not
therefore have its own governing board. All four options meet this requirement with option
3 being the preferred solution because administrative reform usually must be backed by the
highest possible authority in its dealings with other Ministries. It will send a clear message
that government is committed to administrative reform. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s
Office is “crowded” with a large number of agencies (many of which should fall under the
appropriate line Ministry) all competing for the Prime Minister’s attention and there is no
guarantee that reform will be given a high profile.

4.14 The next best alternative of creating a fully fledged Ministry carries the risk that it
will become a line ministry without legitimate authority with its influence depending entirely
on the political influence of the individual Minister who has the portfolio at the time. It is
also likely to be perceived as a Ministry like any other with its own programme competing
for resources with those of other Ministries, rather than as a central authority having an
overarching programme which impacts on the ability of line Ministries to deliver their
respective programmes. Similar arguments apply to the current situation where OMSAR falls
under a Minister of State. However, this first option does have the advantage of preserving
OMSAR’s operational autonomy which it would lose were it to be converted to a Ministry.
Under all of the first three options, the Research and Guidance Service of the CSB should
definitely be integrated with the new agency to create a single team of people working on
structural and process issues across the administration.

4.15 The issue of whether the new agency should be integrated with the Civil Service
Board is a more difficult question to answer. In some countries, the administrative reform
function is exercised by the Ministry or Department responsible for human resource
management for the public service. This is option 4 in Figure 6. In others, it is kept
separate but with close coordination maintained between the two bodies. In the case of
Lebanon, however, it is suggested in the short-term that the reform agency is kept separate
for two reasons. Firstly, the CSB’s work currently includes both HR operational functions
and regulatory activities which may divert attention from the agency’s policy and facilitation
role if the two bodies are joined. Secondly, the present organization culture and capabilities
of the CSB are not well suited to the reform task. The reform entity should not be burdened
by bureaucratic rules and regulations because it needs to cultivate its own distinctive
culture, which should be innovative and non-bureaucratic. However, integration might be
considered if the CSB were restructured as an HR policy body accountable directly to a
Minister (rather than through an independent Board), in so doing creating an independent
oversight body with its own board and devolving HR operations to Ministries and Agencies.
Integration is therefore a legitimate medium-term solution, which may be too difficult
politically to accomplish at the present time.

4.16 By way of conclusion, only the first three options are tenable at the present time.
However, we see few advantages in OMSAR adopting option 2 over the current situation.
It may result in some additional political backing, but it would certainly lose its operational
flexibility and it would risk undermining the present culture. If OMSAR is to change, option
3 would seem to be the best alternative because it could enable the present culture and
autonomy to be preserved. But, unless the centre of government is restructured, it may fail
to attract the Prime Minister’s attention and it could lose its voice in the Council of Ministers.
There is a case therefore for OMSAR to maintain its current institutional location and seek

                                                                                               46
alternative means of enhancing its influence. This is a decision which will need to be
weighed very carefully.

Other options

4.17 In Lebanon’s unique political and institutional environment, there is no obviously best
structural solution which is guaranteed to enhance OMSAR’s influence significantly.
Alternative means to empower OMSAR must be sought. There are three other options, if
implemented in tandem, are likely to have a more substantial impact, namely:-

      Legal mandate. First, the Council of Ministers could issue a decision to give OMSAR
       a clear mandate which also defines its relationships with other ministries and
       agencies. This mandate should be based on the responsibilities (as defined above)
       which reflect the hybrid model proposed;

      Government owned reform plan. Second, the Council of Ministers could endorse a
       three year plan prepared by OMSAR in consultation with other stakeholders. This
       would empower OMSAR to perform its coordination and monitoring function; and

      Higher committee for reform. Third, the Government could establish a higher
       committee chaired by the Prime Minister on which central agencies (having
       responsibility for leading particular reform initiatives) and key line Ministries (affected
       by reform) should be represented. OMSAR, acting as a Secretariat, would submit
       regular progress reports against the approved plan to this committee.

4.18 Taking these three critical steps will clearly require a significant degree of political
commitment to reform. The Minister of State will need to take the initiative with the
Council of Ministers.

Organization and Management

4.19 The organization and management of OMSAR will depend upon its role and function.
Since the role is likely to evolve over time if these proposals are adopted, the organization
structure and management functions will not necessarily remain static. It is proposed that
OMSAR should:-

      Carry out an in depth review of its current organization structure once the future
       reform agency model has been decided. There are three basic options to be
       considered: a functional, a programme or matrix structure. Arguably a simple
       functional structure (e.g. programme management, communications, finance) will
       work best, although there is a case for having a programme based structure for the
       proposed service delivery initiative to bring together the different functional
       specialists (from IDU and ICT) in one team. This could provide a critical mass of
       expertise to establish a “centre of excellence.” The matrix structure will be less
       relevant if there is a shift away from the “executing agency” model;

      Act as a model of change for the rest of the public administration. To be credible as
       a “leader” of reform, OMSAR should itself adopt the policies and practices (e.g.
       performance management, merit based recruitment and promotion) which it wants


                                                                                                47
       other agencies to introduce. In some instances, new initiatives could first be piloted
       within OMSAR before they are rolled out more widely;

      Develop a communications strategy based on professional advice from an
       experienced communications specialist;

      Aim to build a reform programme from the bottom up by employing projects to test
       new ideas, learn from the experience and enable these to grow into larger
       programmes. Programme outcomes and milestones can be developed gradually as
       these projects grow into a coherent programme;

      Prepare corporate guidelines for managing change in individual ministries based on
       the experiences of past projects; and

      Consider introducing time sheets for professional staffs to improve the efficiency of
       its operations and to inform the allocation of personnel to future projects.

Staffing of OMSAR

4.20 It is very difficult to present any firm proposals on the future staffing of OMSAR. It
will depend crucially on the specific role which OMSAR adopts and the particular reform
interventions which gain traction. Some flexibility in staffing arrangements will clearly be
necessary and a combination of permanent and contracted staff would seem to be most
appropriate. For the “leader” and “coordinator” models, different skill sets will be needed,
for instance in change management, programme management and evaluation, and
communications. More generalists who possess a wide range of experience will be needed
than technical specialists who possess narrower skill sets. Beyond this, not much more can
be said until OMSAR chooses the direction it wishes to take as a central public administration
reform agency.




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                                                                  ANNEX

                      List of Persons Met

HE Chemsadine                Minister of State for Administrative Reform
HE Jean Oghassabian          Former Minister of State, OMSAR
Martha Ruedes                Resident Representative, UNDP
Hassan Krayem                Policy Analyst, UNDP
George Aouad                 President of Central Inspection
Muntar Aoun                  Controller, Administrative Inspection
Tanios Halabi                Director of Personnel Administration, CSB
Nadia Mrad                   Director of Research and Guidance, CSB
Nada Khatib                  Controller, Research and Guidance, CSB
Christian Declerq            UN project, Ministry of Finance
Fouad Fleifel                DG, Ministry of Economy and Trade
Antoine Romanos              Head of Medical Licensing, Ministry of Public
                             Health
Corrine Azar                 DG, Ministry of Social Affairs
Mohammed Karaki              DG, National Social Security Fund
Abdel Ghani Chaheen          DG, National Employment Agency
Jamal Mounajed               DG, National Administration Institute
Nasser Israoui               Director, TCU, OMSAR
Atef Merhi                   Director, IDU, OMSAR
Andre Amiouni                Senior Policy analyst, OMSAR
Samer Hankir                 Senior Training Officer, OMSAR
Youmna Ghorayeb              AFKAR Coordinator, OMSAR
Rahif Hajj Ali               Senior Policy Analyst, OMSAR
Tania Zaroubi                Senior ICT Project Manager, OMSAR
Youssef Saad                 Team Leader Procurement, OMSAR
Nakhoul Jabbour              Head of Finance, OMSAR
Ziad Nasr                    Head of Administration, OMSAR
Jihad Riachi                 Team Leader INFORMS, OMSAR
Rula Kabbani                 Senior EU Coordinator
Gada Bsat                    Senior Logistics Officer, OMSAR




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